LAHORE - Peace in Karachi, the economic hub of the country, is linked to deweaponisation since surgical and targeted operations involving paramilitary troops are a temporary solution of the problem, becoming more serious with each passing day.
During background interviews, several retired and serving police officers and former security experts underlined that peace could not be restored in the most populous City unless the militant wings of the political parties are disarmed and disbanded.
They stated that the current situation in Karachi warrants political will and a comprehensive action plan to eliminate the criminals.
However, they unanimously termed the demands to hand over Karachi to Army, as totally unfounded and unjustified.
A top police officer, who is serving as chief of the police force in one of the four provinces, said that action in Karachi must be launched to restore order.
“Irrespective of the name (Mohajir Republican Army), political parties including MQM, PPP and ANP have their militant wings in Karachi, which must be disarmed and disbanded. Surgical and targeted operations are not the solution to restore peace in the most important City,” the officer, who served on a key position in the violence-plagued Karachi for several years, told The Nation on the condition of anonymity.
Public was disheartened as Attorney General submitted to the Supreme Court an official report about the existence of Mohajir Republic Army (MRA) in Karachi besides other criminal groups working in the City.
MQM not only denied its truth but also termed the revelation as ridiculous; others demanded that government should launch a targeted action against criminals involving the police and the personnel of Pakistan Rangers. MQM’s demand to hand over the City to Army was intriguingly shocking.
“Capacity and authority of the law-enforcement agencies (police and Rangers) should be enhanced, enabling them to deliver in the wake of threat posed by criminals and smugglers,” the officer observed.
He also said that latest weapons, training, and communication system must be provided to law-enforcement agencies and the security personnel should be empowered to conduct operations across the board.
“The State machinery should not leave any stone unturned to cleanse Karachi of illegal weapons. Karachi has more weapons than its population. The situation needs urgent and immediate action,” he said.
The top police officer also revealed that a good number of lower subordinates, serving in the Karachi police, are infact foot soldiers associated with the militant wings of the political parties. The black sheep in the Karachi police must be removed to destroy the networking of the organised militant wings, he maintained.
Former Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammad Habib-ur-Rehman says that with every passing day the situation is worsening in the port City with no hope of any improvement in maintaining order, protecting lives and safeguarding property.
“This is certainly disgusting and desperate state of affairs with far reaching implications for the country. Courts, political parties, media, and civil society are earnestly demanding the government to maintain peace and improve law and order in Karachi,” Rehman said.
He also said that the criminals must be targeted disregarding their political affiliations and the courts should ensure speedy trials of criminals.
Retired military officer and defence analyst Farooq Hameed Khan said that the crackdown against the godowns of illegal weapons is more important than arresting the target killers and criminals.
What to say about the peace plan in the City, where sophisticated and illegal weapons like heavy machineguns, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), mortars, and rocket-launchers are put on sale in the underworld, he said.
“PPP and MQM are part of the problem. The infrastructure of the militant wings of the political parties must be dismantled for the sake of peace. Forget about peace in Karachi if such militant wings are not disbanded,”Hameed Khan underscored.
He further suggested that the Federal and provincial government, political parties, and law-enforcement agencies must proceed with firm resolve following single point agenda to maintain order and restore the rule of law.
According to another security expert, who prefers not to be identified, international conspiracy in the light of impending US invasion on Syria vis-a-vis world reaction, situation in Afghanistan and Indian provocations along Line of Control, must be implicitly understood and efforts be made to frustrate foreign plots by keeping Pakistan Army away from Karachi imbroglio.
The expert, who served in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for more than a decade in mid- 90’s, also recommended that action should be launched after obtaining consensus of all stakeholders including political parties, business community and members of civil society.
“Operation in Karachi should be conducted with the help of police and Pakistan Rangers. To me personally, Army must not be engaged in Karachi at any cost”, he suggested.