KARACHI - More than 30 doctors in Karachi have recently received extortion slips from Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), in a sign of increasing hold of militants on the biggest city of the country where government forces have been conducting a targeted operation for months.
The threat to this important community and unending violence in the port city shows that the much hyped operation of police and paramilitary Rangers has failed to achieve the target despite tall claims of the authorities.
According to sources, some of the medics approached by militants are non-Muslims. Each of the non-Muslim doc has been asked to give rupees three million to TTP on account of Fidiya – a tax under Islamic law that non-Muslim residents of an Islamic state pay to authorities for their protection and welfare.
“These doctors, working in different private hospitals, have received extortion slips with bullets. These health experts are under severe stress due to the glaring threat to their lives. Karachi Police and Pakistan Rangers, Sindh have already been informed about it, but they did nothing so far,” a source told The Nation.
The source said the non-Muslim doctors were handed the extortion slips not through post or some other indirect way, but by hand from the militants, which shows the level of strength of the Taliban in the city. He said the areas where doctors were threatened included Defence, Taj Complex, Kati Pahari, Orangi Town, Korangi Town, Frontier Colony, Metrovile, SITE, Kharadar, Kimari and Federal Area.
Medics have been target killed in almost all parts of the country. There are scores of case of kidnapping for ransom and extortion, especially in Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and militancy infested tribal areas. The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and other platforms of medical community have been highlighted this problem in the media as well but to no avail.
In the recently handed down extortion slips, the doctors have been asked to give Fidia if they want to remain alive. Almost half of these slips or letters are hand written and they contained Quranic references justifying the demand of the militants.
A senior doctor, seeking anonymity, said that this situation is persisting since long time and it has created a sense of fear and unrest among the doctors’ community. He said either the government is powerless before the militants or it is not sincere in providing security to the doctors and does not want to improve the law and order situation in the province. The poor law and order situation is also causing brain drain as many doctors and other professionals are leaving the country for fear of their lives, he said.