Extortion-linked killings on the rise: HRCP
Karachi: Drawing attention to the growing menace of extortion in Karachi, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), in its data released on Wednesday, showed that of the 972 people targeted in the city from January to June, 336 had no political affiliation.
“We noticed a sharp spike in the killing of people with no political affiliation during the past six months. They were mainly cases of regular criminal activities taking place in the city, i.e. criminals killing people for extortion,” said Abdul Hai, a human rights activist associated with the commission.
“Nevertheless, there is a fraction decrease in the random drive-by shootings which were on the rise last year.”
The report stated that 27 people were eliminated in sectarian killings and 55 children killed in violence, out of whom, at least seven were declared as “targeted” victims.
The data also showed 11 cases of men and women killed in cases of Karo Kari, which, according to Hai, goes pretty much unabated in the city.
“The cases of Karo Kari are usually incidents in which couples run away from their homes in interior Sindh and arrive in the city hoping to find shelter, but are found and killed by their families.”
The report also disclosed that seven of the women murdered in the city fell victim to target killings.
The compiled figures also included casualties of the unrest in Lyari, in which at least 84 people lost their lives, including four children.
Under a separate heading, the data showed that the most number of women killed in the last six months actually suffered their fates at the hands of their close relatives. Explaining the phenomenon, Hai said this pointed out the “recurrent trend of violence against women in our society”.
Commenting on police performance, Hai said a decrease in politically-motivated killings suggested that law enforcement agencies were focusing more on the issue, but the casualties on that front were now being taken over by killings of other nature.
“The police can curb this latest trend of criminal activities if they want to, as they have plenty of information about the extortion, land and drug mafias, but they need to be proactive while dealing with these nefarious elements.”
Hai added that despite the decrease in the killing of political activists during the past six months, the death toll still stood at 135, which was unacceptable.
There were 39 bodies found in various areas of the city during the period, compared to the much higher number last year, when the trend of killing people and dumping their bodies was quite common.
The six months were also a dangerous period for the law enforcement agencies as 47 policemen and Rangers were lost their lives in the line of duty, including the causalities during the Lyari operation in April.
The report also mentioned that 16 people died after consuming moonshine. Despite various crackdowns against moonshine makers, the police have been unable to bring the menace under control as suggested by the figures.