Split personality

BY SHAHAB USTO

THE recent spike in attacks on security forces has yet again exposed Karachi’s vulnerable security environment, prompting the provincial government to add more anti-terrorism courts, prosecutors and police personnel. However, it bears thinking whether these actions are sufficient to meet the security challenges that are rooted not only in terrorism but, more significantly, in the three constants of Karachi’s body politic — identity, ownership and governance.

Identity: Karachi was initially a small but cosmopolitan city, where various communities lived in harmony. But after independence, the city’s socio-cultural and political complexion kept changing because of four successive influxes. First, from 1947 through the 1950s, Karachi came to be identified as predominantly Urdu-speaking. Thousands of people from the Indian provinces of UP, Bihar and what was then known as Central Provinces, settled in the city while a large number of Hindus and Sikhs left for India.

In the 1960s, Karachi received the second wave of immigrants, mainly Pakhtun, from the then NWFP. As they entered the labour market particularly in the construction, transport, security and ports and shipping sectors, the city’s ethnic relations came under strain and riots ensued.

The third influx found its way to Karachi in the 1980s following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Many of these Afghans even received local residencies, thanks to state patronage and connivance of local registration offices. Indeed, the ‘Afghan factor’ combined with Gen Ziaul Haq’s policy of dividing political forces in Sindh along ethnic lines to weaken the PPP’s urban appeal, drastically transformed the city’s face and security environment. The city saw an emergence of an arms-and-drugs market and the attendant political and criminal militias controlling various territories through violence.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1224471

Advertisements

By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. Although IAOJ does not monitor comments posted to this site (and has no obligation to), it reserves the right to delete, edit, or move any material that it deems to be in violation of this rule.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s