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منگل، 8 مئی، 2012

The Lyari joke

 Al Qaeda and Taliban militants have also a significant presence in the city. A number of Al Qaeda militants had been arrested from Karachi. The recent statement of a widow of Osama bin Laden that she lived in Karachi for some time shows that terrorist groups have spread its tentacles in the city. The militants have also shown their muscles by attacking a number of targets including the well-guarded Mehran  base of Pakistan Navy. Taliban have claimed responsibility for several attacks in the city.

What kind of a cruel joke is this Lyari police operation with the residents of the port city of Karachi and their compatriots at large? It was amid great media hype that the so-called crackdown on the criminals was launched in this part of the city. And the action has veritably turned out to be a spectacular fiasco. Throughout the over a-week-long operation, the targeted criminal gang palpably kept an upper-hand, inflicted numerous fatalities and injuries on the police force, and dispatched it into an ignoble retreat to lick its wounds, splattering in the process the mud all over the face of the Sindh government as well the federal top echelons.
And yet the humiliated officialdom is shamelessly upbeat. The crackdown would continue on a "limited scale", crowed has the interior minister Rehman Malik cockily, as if the operation was originally on a wider scale, whereas right from the outset it was a limited action aimed only at a particular gang, not the entire criminal syndicate based in the area. And the fighting remained confined just to a few streets.
But how comes the police botched up the operation so abysmally? By every indication, it was a blind action that the police had undertaken. It had obviously no firm information about the gang's dens, its dons' lairs, the deadly arsenal it was in possession of, its supply pipelines to replenish its diminishing stocks of weapons and to beef up its fighting manpower constantly. Given this, the debacle of the police raiders was writ large on the wall right from the beginning. So it met its inevitable waterloo with heads down.
But what is intriguing is as to why had the police force been pushed into the den of the gang unprepared for the action it was tasked to accomplish? There indeed are some curious happenings attendant to the whole operation that do not sit easily on the mind. For the first thing, it really beats the mind that while the police raiders were visibly being badly mauled by the gang right in the early stages, why the Rangers were not sent in to reinforce the besieged official raiders? The chief minister kept declaring that the Rangers were on their way to deploy in the area. But they never appeared on the scene. Nor did any police reinforcements arrive to beef up the muscle power of the cornered raiders.

 It appears that those who had tasked the police to this mission had actually had no real heart in the campaign. Indeed, right when the operation was in the thick of it, of all the people the Sindh home minister declared sickness, took a month's leave and made haste to land in Dubai purportedly for a medical check up. More intriguingly, going by the media reports, the police raiders in their operation had the targeted gang's adversaries on board for leads and guidance. What does it says if not that a devious game is in play in this action in this erstwhile stronghold of the PPP where the party statedly stands badly factionalised?
The tongues are indeed waging. Given the fact that criminal gangs nowhere in the world can operate without powerful political patronage and connections, a view is fast gaining in wide currency that this selectiveness in targeting a particular Lyari gang is in effect reflective of the infighting in the local PPP apparatus. In any case, picking up only Lyari, and that too only a part of the sprawling locality, for the anti-criminal operation is in itself quite mystifying, particularly when the entire port city is under the sway of the underworld, with various criminal gangs having parcelled it out between themselves as their closed preserves.
All said and done, this botched-up Lyari operation has raised a host of sizzling questions, suspicions and doubts in the people's minds, which cannot be left unallayed. Someone in the provincial administration has to tell candidly why only a particular gang was targeted in Lyari and all others spared, and why the operation was not extended to other parts of the city to bust the criminals gangs embedded there. And secondly, the people must be told why the police raiders went in action wholly unprepared to accomplish the task and why the Rangers were not deployed when the police was so visibly failing in carrying out the assigned mission.
The people, particularly the residents of Karachi, must insist on getting the answers in the great interest of the restoration of peace and tranquility to the long-troubled port city. The hub of the nation's commerce and trade cannot be allowed to continue remaining hostage to competing political ambitions and rivalries.

 The Frontier Post

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