Target killings have claimed 260 lives since January: HRCP
Karachi: The security situation in the city has worsened this year, with at least 260 people being killed in incidents of target killings in its first quarter, says a quarterly report released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
Coincidentally, HRCP’s casualty figure for the first six months of 2010 was also 260. Meanwhile, last year’s annual figure was almost 100 percent higher than that of 2009, reflecting a progressively deteriorating law and order situation in the city.
From the quarterly total that was calculated from January 2011 to March 2011, 169 have been identified as having no political affiliation while the remaining 91 have been cited as activists of various political parties.
Similar to previous reports released by the HRCP, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) suffered most of the casualties in these politically-motivated cases, as 46 of its activists fell victim to target killings.
According to the report, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Awami National Party (ANP) both lost 12 of their loyalists each. Eight were identified as being from the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (Haqiqi), four from the Sunni Tehreek, three from the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, two from the Punjabi Front, one from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and one activist of the banned Jaish-e-Muhammad.
Meanwhile, two people were also targeted in what were described as sectarian killings.
The most violent month for politically-motivated murders was March, in which 48 people were targeted, preceded by 14 in February and 29 in January.
Regarding the killings of MQM activists, the party’s minister Faisal Sabzwari said that the MQM is being targeted due to its hard stance against religious extremism, and also because the party is vocal in its disapproval of various mafias operating under the patronage of some political parties.
“The HRCP report has underestimated the figures for the number of killings of MQM activists. We are being targeted because we stand up to extremists and gangsters who want to harm our city.”
He added that to deal with the deteriorating security situation, party workers have been given strict instructions to remain vigilant at all times, while MQM offices have been ordered to close down operations when a tense situation arises. Moreover, a neighbourhood-watch system has been initiated in those areas where party workers are residing.
The MQM minister also commented that it is not the party’s responsibility to police the city and maintain law and order, and the relevant authorities should take action against those responsible for target killings.
Including the target killings, as many as 531 people were killed in various incidents in the last three months. Out of the total number, most of them lost their lives to target killings, followed by 55 people killed because of enmity and 49 in kidnapping cases.
Over 24 were killed by robbers. Twenty-one policemen and 17 victims of the Lyari gang war are also among the dead. Over 17 dead bodies were found during this period. Fifteen people were killed in police encounters, six were crushed by trains, four killed in Karo-Kari incidents, three died due to stray bullets, three died in prison, two drug addicts were found dead and two security guards were killed.
Meanwhile, 30 women were killed in different incidents, out of which 12 women were murdered by relatives, eight by unknown people, three became victims of Karo-Kari, three burnt to death and two crushed by trains.
Source: The News