by Zia Ur Rehman
July 29, 2015
The quarterly report of an Islamabad-based security think tank released on Tuesday showed a marked improvement in the law and order situation in Karachi and the law enforcement agencies’ operation against criminals in the city has been given the credit for it.
Besides, the report prepared by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) also stated that there has been a significant improvement in the security situation in the entire country.
The ongoing operation in Karachi, spearheaded by the Rangers, has had a positive impact in terms of curbing organised crime – a combination of criminal gangs, political patronage and bureaucratic protection.
“This combination has had its own impact on the city’s security landscape because the criminals hooked up with militants – both relying on one another for protection and support,” Muhammad Nafees, a senior research fellow at the CRSS who compiled the report, told The News.
Launched in September 2013, the Karachi operation represents yet another dimension of the security crisis that Pakistan faces.
“For the first time in history, the law enforcement agencies focused on the connection between crime, politics and militancy in a sustained way,” Nafees maintained.
The report also highlighted the controversies and fierce reaction from various political groups, especially the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Pakistan People’s Party, because of the operation
“Yet there is hardly any denial of the fact that political patronage of crime, facilitation and acquiescence (by police and the bureaucracy) and their linkages with religio-political or religio-militant groups have contributed to the security crisis,” Nafees commented.
However, he added that some banned groups had not been targeted in the ongoing crackdown.
Security situation in country
It is stated in the report that deaths from violence in Pakistan during the second quarter of 2015 were slightly lower than the deaths recorded during the previous quarter.
A total of 1,352 people were killed in the second quarter in comparison with 1,309 in the first.
The overall figures show that Fata had the highest number of deaths because of violence during this quarter, followed by Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Islamabad.
On the district level, Karachi recorded the highest number of fatalities from violence with 332 deaths during the second quarter, while North Waziristan with 309 and Khyber Agency with 156 in Fata were the other affected areas.
Security situation in Sindh
As many as 354 people were killed and 18 injured in Sindh between April and June 2015. Of them, 332 were killed in Karachi. During the same period last year, the number of fatalities in Karachi was 291.
The fatalities because of violence in the province were significantly lower during this quarter of the year compared with the corresponding period last year.
The fatalities because of target killings came down to 89 from 360 last year, while killing of suspects in security operations went up by 30 percent.
The robbery-related fatalities also went up by over 100 percent.
As a result of the law enforcement agencies’ crackdown, many members of banned outfits were killed during this quarter, marking a 30 percent increase.
After Fata and Balochistan, Karachi was the only district in Sindh where so many members of terrorist outfits were killed, including those involved in the suicide attack at the Wagah border in November last year who were hiding in Baldia Town.
The number of killings of the members of the criminal syndicates of Lyari and the factions of the Tehreek-e-Taliban in the province was also higher during this quarter of the year than the same period last year.
The report also showed a major decrease in the killing of activists of different political parties during this quarter when compared with 37 in same time period in 2014. The report stated that during the second quarter of 2014, 28 activists of the MQM were killed. But it declined to a great extent during the current second quarter with only four deaths.
May was the deadliest month wherein 45 members of the Ismaili community were killed in Safoora Goth.
Nafees said it was a new tactic that the militants had adopted. At least 61 worshippers were killed in a sectarian attack on an imambargah in Shikarpur on January 30.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also released a report on the crime statistics in Karachi, which shows a significant decrease in target killings in the city in the last six months, but at the same time, the organisation has expressed serious concerns over the increase in extrajudicial killings during this period.