It’s not just gangsters that are dying in Lyari


Official numbers suggest that almost half of those killed in Lyari in 2013 belonged to ethnic groups and minorities with no political representation in Karachi.
The poor law and order in Pakistan, minority leader Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani claims, was forcing the paranoid non-Muslims to migrate from the country.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Katchi Rabita Committee (KRC) appear to be major political and ethnic stakeholders in Lyari. All of them claim to have political support of the people of Lyari led by the Baloch, Katchi and Muhajir ethnic groups.
While politicians from the ruling PPP often make hue and cry over the unabated killing of their Baloch voters in Lyari, the MQM claims its Katchi and Urdu-speaking supporters are the prime target of politically-motivated violence in the area.
Soon after the Karachi operation, KRC leader Husain Katchi saw some respite in the extrajudicial disappearances and assassination of his community members in the volatile neighborhood.
Unfortunately, all the three political and ethnic entities have had great substance in their claims on the politically-motivated but deadly repercussions of Lyari violence that, official numbers suggest, claimed at least 219 lives in 2013.
The Sindh police counted the number of injured from January 1 to December 9 as 265.
Ironically, not all victims of Lyari violence belong to the three major ethnic groups thus the killings remain ill-represented.
According to Sindh police, at least 49.31 percent or 108 of the 219 Lyari deceased belonged to ethnic groups other than Baloch, Katchi or Urdu-speakers.
Of the total casualties in Lyari, Baloch formed the largest number, 53, followed by Katchi, 44, and Punjabis appear to be the third worst-affected ethnic group in Lyari bloodshed.
The official figures depict that during the period under review, Lyari violence claimed the lives of at least 40 Punjabis.
Sindhi and Memon communities are next having lost 27 people to Lyari bloodbath followed by Pashtun with 23 killings.
Urdu-speakers are the sixth worst-hit ethnic group witnessing 14 of their community members falling prey to violence. The police data shows that eight Hindus and Christians were killed.
“This is condemnable. The law and order situation in Sindh has been very poor and is one of the primary reasons for minority members migrating from the country,” said Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, patron of Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC).
Citing a rough estimate, he said at least 10,000 minority members had left Pakistan during 2012 and 2013. “Since 2006 onward, around 6,000 to 7,000 people are migrating to other countries every year,” he added.
Pinning hope in the PML-N government, Ramesh said, “Mian Sahib seemed serious in taking measures to improve law and order in the country. Minorities constitute six percent of the total population but their problems are disproportionately higher than their size.”
Eight unidentified people were also killed in Lyari. The Lyari violence, which now has turned an ugly turn with two former allies Uzair Jan Baloch and Baba Ladla splitting into two rival groups, also left two Bengalis dead, shows the police figures.
As many as 120 KRC members were injured, Baloch 97, Sindhi and Memon 19, Punjabis 13, Pashtun 10, Urdu-speaking two.
According to Sindh police spokesman Inspector Atiq Ahmed Shaikh, the law enforcers were committed to flushing out crime from the entire city, including Lyari. He claimed that during 2013 the police shot dead 45 accused and arrested 547 others in 686 targeted raids in Lyari.
The police also claimed to have seized 23 Kalashnikov rifles, 260 pistols, 25 grenades, two bombs, a dagger and 1,451 bullets.