KARACHI – Interior Minister Rehman Malik may have roared on television that a curfew-like operation will be conducted in some parts of the city, Rangers and police personnel -including Orangi Town Superintendent of Police Khurram Qaris -received no instruction on the modalities of any such operation.
Citizens of these areas also took Malik’s orders with a pinch of salt, with a survey carried out by Pakistan Today of the areas in question revealing that little has changed on the ground. Life went on as it has been since the past few days – at least six people were killed in targeted violence on Sunday.
Katti Pahari, one of the areas torn apart by targeted violence, wore a deserted look on Sunday night. The locality is largely divided into an Urdu-speaking neighbourhood and a Pushto-speaking neighbourhood. The Urdu-speaking neighbourhood was completely deserted, but there was some life in the Pushto-speaking areas.
“Only those who have nothing to fear are left in the area,” a man stopped by Rangers personnel for snap checking told Pakistan Today. “Most others have left, and even those who are here, do not want to leave their houses.”
Transport in the area, meanwhile, was thin while only a handful of shops remained open. The shopkeepers who continued to operate told Pakistan Today that business was slower than usual, but argued that was much insecurity in the area, and hence, people were interested in either stockpiling rations or buying essential food items.
Shahrah-e-Noor Jehan Police Station Station House Officer (SHO) Masroor Ejaz, the officer responsible for the area, told Pakistan Today that he had received no instructions or directions on any kind of curfew or operation. “We haven’t been told to increase security,” Ejaz said.
Policemen deployed on the boundary between the two neighbourhoods were in no urgency either. “This mobile is simply parked here, it has no driver. We merely come here on duty, and use the carrier for our seating arrangements,” a cop said. Meanwhile, only one other security mobile exists in the area: a Rangers mobile parked adjacent to the Shahrah-e-Noor Jehan Police Station.
Meanwhile, consultant for the Home Department and former chief of the Citizens Police Liaison Committee, Sharfuddin Memon said that curfew will be imposed in the areas ravaged by targeted violence. He said that the law enforcers are likely to sweep Orangi Town, Qasba Morr, Pehlwan Goth, Rabia City, Bhittaiabad and Abul hasan Ispahani Road for criminal elements. Areas where intelligence reports have pinpointed the presence of criminals will be cordoned off as well.
Memon said no citizen will be told about when an operation is to begin. “We will announce that a few minutes before its commencement. Traffic will be suspended after snap checking, and no one will to be allowed to enter any area or come out of their house during the search operation,” he said.
The former CPLC chief said that routine activities are likely to be limited, while the pillion riding ban will remain in force for the length of the operation.
Meanwhile, reports received from Mobina Town, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Sachal Goth, and adjoining areas also claimed that while an atmosphere of insecurity persisted at large, little activity out of the ordinary by personnel of the law enforcement agencies was witnessed.