Senate debate on Karachi situation
ISLAMABAD: Both the Awami National Party (ANP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) agree that Taliban have penetrated Karachi but the former says they can’t be blamed for all the evils while the latter insists they should be.
This exchange of arguments took place between ANP Senator Shahi Syed and MQM’s Tahir Mashhadi during a debate on the law and order situation in Karachi, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan on the opening day of the new session of the Senate on Tuesday. All the senators who took part in the debate depicted a gloomy picture of the law and order situation in the country and asked the government to take firm action against those killing innocent people.
Shahi Syed said that people belonging to all political parties and sects were being killed in Karachi. “The name of Taliban is being used by the hired killers. Extortion is being collected in the name of Taliban,” the ANP senator said.
He expressed fears that the Pakhtun could be targeted in the city in the name of operation against Taliban.
Shahi Syed questioned as to why an indiscriminate operation had not been launched against the criminals operating in the city when all the three coalition partners in the government — the PPP, MQM and ANP — had agreed on it and even signed a code.
Demanding a full-fledged operation against extortionists, drug mafia and target killers in the city, the ANP senator said the criminals had even established their control rooms in different parts of the city.
“This operation should not be against one particular party, ethnic group or sect and it should be across the board,” he said.
He also stressed the need for formulating legislation to de-weaponise Karachi and to enhance the punishment for those who carried illegal arms. He claimed that hundreds of weapons were being used on just one licence number in the city.
Shahi Syed said the delimitation of constituencies was being done in Karachi to prevent the ANP from winning any seat in the next election.
He said the ANP somehow managed to win two seats of the provincial assembly from Karachi for the first time and the opponents were now planning to get rid of the party.
Tahir Mashhadi differed from Shahi Syed’s viewpoint that criminals were using the name of Taliban to carry out their activities and said those looting banks and kidnapping people for ransom were the real Taliban.
“Karachi has been Talibanised. There should be an operation against them,” he said.
Whoever claimed that criminals had disguised themselves as Taliban were wrong as even the Supreme Court had endorsed the views of MQM chief Altaf Hussain about the presence of Taliban in the city, he said.
Hasil Bizenjo of the National Party (NP) while quoting from a WikiLeaks cable said that over 35,000 armed groups were operating in Karachi having backing of different political parties, ethnic groups and various mafias.
Elaborating, he said that 15,000 armed groups had the backing of the MQM, another 15,000 were operating under the patronage of different ethnic groups such as Pakhtuns and the Baloch and some 5,000 armed groups had the support of drug and land mafias.
The NP senator opposed the policy of law-enforcement and intelligence agencies of pitting one group against the other.
The debate was continuing when Deputy Chairman Sabir Baloch adjourned the session till Thursday evening.