Hand over Karachi to army, says Altaf

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain demanded on Tuesday that the administrative control of Karachi be handed over to the army, saying that the Sindh government has failed to maintain peace in the country’s commercial capital.

By Faisal Aziz

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Published: Wed 28 Aug 2013, 11:39 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:16 PM

The demand comes in the backdrop of continuing violence in the city in general and in the troubled neighbourhood of Lyari in particular.

Altaf said the government had failed to protect the members of the Kachhi community who had returned to the Lyari area on Sunday after being forced to migrate to other districts of the province given the deteriorating law and order situation in the area.

He also deplored what he called the “inaction” of the Sindh chief minister, the provincial and city administration of Karachi.

“Scores of people have died and injured including women since Monday. Sindh government, Karachi’s Administration and the police have not only failed to stop this open terrorism but also have disappeared from the troubled area,” he said in a statement. Altaf said, “It gives the impression as if police and law enforcement agencies do not exist in Karachi.”

While addressing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the MQM chief said that the Sindh government has failed to provide protection to Karachi’s people and business community from Lyari gangs and extortionists.

He urged the prime minister to “hand over Karachi to the army if he is unable to provide protection to Karachi’s unarmed people and business community because of legal and constitutional restraints”.

“Karachi’s unarmed, innocent people and business community is looking towards the army as a last hope,” he further said.

Karachi has a long history of sectarian, ethnic and political violence and thousands of people have been killed in the metropolis amidst the lawlessness. It is also home to dozens of criminal gangs, who are also engaged in turf wars amongst themselves other than being involved in land grabbing, extortion, kidnappings and even killings.

While the demand for the deployment for army in Karachi is not new and has come from different quarters. However, the demand from Altaf Hussain drew strong criticism and leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party termed it as a “slap” on the face of democracy.

Other political parties also criticised the demand, and said Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ibad Khan, who is the longest serving governor in the history of Pakistan and has been in office since December 2002, was equally responsible for the situation. They demanded that the governor, who belongs to the MQM, should immediately resign if he was so ineffective.


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