Haqiqi tries to stage comeback; Karachi party feud claims 13 lives
KARACHI: Bloodshed made its way back into Karachi on Friday with 13 killings as the city, reeling from ethnic and political conflicts that had killed over 100 people earlier this month, saw a new twist in its violent history when the Muhajir Qaumi Movement, better known as Haqiqi, attempted to stage a comeback in strongholds of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
City police chief Saud Mirza said the violence was sparked when “some men of a group entered Khokhrapar area of Malir and targeted their opponents”.
The area remained under siege for over three hours and gunmen were seen strutting about without facing any resistance from police and Rangers.
As the city’s south zone remained under tight security due to the presence of President Ali Asif Ali Zardari at Bilawal House, the law enforcers appeared helpless in controlling the situation in the east district.
“We have arrested at least six suspects and are currently engaged in a major intelligence gathering action in the strife-hit areas. We have also requested the high-ups to politically engage the parties concerned for restoration of peace,” Mr Mirza said.
The assurances from the security administration, however, fell short of easing the MQM’s fears as its legislators staged a walkout from the Sindh Assembly.
The Muttahida’s leaders blamed ‘politically patronised groups’ with support of ‘a few ministers’ for the deadly episode.
“The way our workers and sympathisers are being targeted in Malir and Landhi makes it obvious that this unleashing of terrorism is calculated and being patronised by someone,” MQM’s deputy parliamentary leader Syed Faisal Ali Subzwari said before leading the walkout.
However, the opposition party assured the members on the treasury benches of its cooperation in every effort for peace in Karachi.
The concerns also echoed in MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s statement issued from London. He, however, also appealed to his party’s workers to stay calm, calling upon the government for action against terrorists.
“The MQM believes in harmony and brotherhood. It’s making all effort for peace and stability in the city, but criminals through their moves are attempting to foil its efforts,” he said.
A spokesman for the MQM-H claimed that the party had lost five senior activists who were returning to their homes in Malir early in the morning when they were attacked. According to sources, they had left their homes almost a decade ago.
The shooting sent shockwaves through the presidential camp office and President Zardari summoned Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Hussain Wasan to discuss the situation.
The meeting, which lasted almost an hour, ended with a resolve to meet the challenge and take indiscriminate action against terrorists.
“It would not be justified to blame anyone for recent violence as I don’t believe in politics of blame game,” the minister said.
Talking to reporters, he said: “It may take time to bring the situation under control in entire Karachi, but we are moving fast and in the right direction.
“The situation in Malir and Landhi is now under control except for random incident of firing.”
The violence offered another opportunity to the Awami National Party, which is now considered a ‘stakeholder’ in the city’s politics, to repeat its demand for an army operation.