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Pakistan: stoking the fire in Karachi

Authors: International Crisis Group
Keywords: Social conditions -- Pakistan; Political violence -- Pakistan; Urban violence -- Pakistan; Crime -- Pakistan; Police -- Pakistan; Karachi -- Pakistan; Urban violence -- Karachi
Issue Date: 15-Feb-2017
Publisher: International Crisis Group
Description: "An indiscriminate, opaque crackdown, ostensibly aimed at countering criminality, militancy and jihadist violence in Karachi, is increasing ethno-political tensions, while failing to curb growth of extremism in the country’s economic hub. The heavyhanded, highly politicised operation by Rangers, who fall under the interior ministry but operate under military command, has targeted but not dented the support base of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the megacity’s largest party. Straying far from stated goals, the force has also targeted Sindh’s ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), detaining several leaders and straining a fragile democratic transition. In September 2013, with ethno-political tensions, sectarian violence and criminality escalating in Karachi, the federal and Sindh governments empowered the Rangers to operate. They were given special police powers, including shoot-to-kill and to detain suspects for 90 days without charge. To be sure, the state’s record in serving and protecting citizens has historically been poor, but by sidelining Sindh’s regular law enforcement system, the Rangers’ operation, like other military-led counter-terrorism efforts, has further weakened civilian capacity and deferred the reform process. This report examines the factors responsible for violence and insecurity in Karachi, assesses the impact and effectiveness of the state’s response and explores options to contain and prevent renewed conflict and violence."
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Appears in Collections:South Asian Born-Digital NGO Reports Collection Project

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