Karachi: No More City of Lights

The metropolitan city of Pakistan, Karachi rocked again on May 7, 2004 with a heavy blast in the business district of the southern Pakistani city of Karachi in one of the Shia mosque inside the compound of a historic school, the Sindh Madarsatul Islam (Sindh School of Islam), where Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, received his early education.

According to high officials the reason behind this inhuman activity on the holy day of Friday is nothing but a suicide bombing. Amount of around Pak Rs: 100,000 are confirmed by the higher authorities to compensate the victim’s family as more than hundred of people were packed in to the mosque for Friday prayers. While discussing the situation provincial security adviser Aftab Sheikh said that “"It is a blatant act of terrorism. It’s the work of enemies of peace. They targeted innocent worshippers."

Killing innocent civilians on holy days and in holy places is not a new story. Each time when tenure is expected to change, elections are due, political devastation raise between two parties, budget is expected in all the reasons Karachi is likely to rock at massive scale. Just few days’ back federal government with the collaboration of provincial government declared red alert in the in the major airports, during that period Pakistani authorities have uncovered a plot by a small terror cell to hijack a plane en route to the United Arab Emirates and possibly blow it up.

Pakistan and particularly Karachi has suffered dozens of such attacks since joining the U.S. led war against terror three years ago. It was just the latest attack on a Shia mosque in Pakistan, which has long been troubled by violence between Sunni sects and Shia origin.

Tussle between two major religious sects Shia and Sunni is rooted back to ages that mar peace and tranquilly of the major cities of Pakistan particularly Karachi where both the sects are present in majority but lack of maturity. This is one of the reasons that violence between the Sunni and Shia communities has claimed hundreds of lives across the country in recent years. Besides gaining the label of “Islamic Militants” or religious zealots lives are taken both the sides, as both the sects are non Muslims. However, not a single case is decided where any opponent party is held responsible of killing innocent civilians at religious gatherings. Now the million dollar question left is to identify or address the root cause involved in the mass massacre of Muslims.

While suspecting the sensitivity of sectarian attacks or the so called religious extremism, Gen. Musharaff banned five Islamic groups of both the sides to escalate harmony or to reduce sectarian violence as killing specially from the religious routes is taking routine sphere. Plus fighting with terrorist activities is becoming too difficult as to identify the culprits with in religious boundaries possessing criminal approach is really a difficult task to carry out.

Not just Karachi but Quetta and other major cities are also in grip of religious killings. In the southwestern city of Quetta 44 people were killed and 150 wounded in an attack on a Shia mosque where blame was levied over Sunnis.

Since Pakistan’s hand shake with America in War Against Terrorism following the September 11, 2001 attacks bomb blast, religious group’s dissatisfaction, military vis-à-vis political decree Pakistan had faced number of terror attacks some of them were successfully carried out like blast out side American embassy killing majority of Pakistani civilians, attacks on foreigners and minority Christians, A bus bombing killed three Chinese engineers working on a major port project in the remote southwest in Gwadar including several attacks on General himself. However, from foreign political perspective, mainly Islamic militant group are usually involved behind theses attacks. On the contrary certain specific criminal activities were diverted by adopting protective and timely measures, for instance in March; a bomb was found defused outside the U.S. Consulate in Karachi and the latest uncovered plot of plane hijacking.

Political analysts throughout Pakistan and at foreign level are of the opinion that September 11 attacks on the land of opportunity, America led Pakistan an opportunity to improve its financial vivendi besides gaining American strategic political hegemony over Pakistan. From Afghan invasion to the down fall of Baghdad fiasco Pakistan was and is badly needed to US from many ways i.e. to capture Osama Bin Laden and his allied forces, destroying Taliban from grass root, opening ways and means to hamper to at least to reduce nuclear race in the region, banning Islamic groups particularly those involved in spreading massive controversy against un Islamic states and their rulings including America.

Although, many believes in General Musharaff policies of shake hand with America and consider this gesture as most appropriate and timely decision taken by him specially when the reward is in the form of U.S. diplomatic backing and substantial economic aid. Irrespective of the fact that it’s a quid pro quo criterion where Pakistan may not fulfill its actual performance required by American strategy in lieu of internal political sensitivity.

What is more depressing for Pakistanis in general and Karachities in particular is the expeditious services or modus operandi adopted by the Pakistani plenipotentiaries while sorting out the real nature behind American embassies blast, tracking down the suspects involved in Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl’s murder etc. but the ability to maintain security in one of the major business city of Pakistan, Karachi seems very low. While contemplating its irregularity one could easily findbombing at religious institutions, robbery, car snatching, and traffic accidents at regular basis. One may say that there’s Al-Qaeda, Shia Sunni Sect, foreign terrorists or Pakistan’s rival neighbors involved in Karachi killings. But the question is if Pakistan can activate its ability to combat with US led War Against terrorism while going in to the every extreme, then why there’s so much irritation in internal law and order situation? Why there’s less transparency or accountability of high ups to be held responsible for all the civic irregularities of Karachi. To build up confidence and trust in Karachities, government should employ all the necessary measures to identify and to address the roots of frequent terrorism particularly in Karachi to gain the forgotten title of the “City of Lights.”