2012: The deadliest year for Karachiites

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Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Although the city witnessed a comparatively low number of crimes in year 2012, mainly owing to the refusal by police to register different cases of crimes in the metropolis, it broke all previous records of political, ethnic and sectarian target killing.

Karachi once deemed a city of lights and commercial hub of the country, offering jobs to thousands of Pakistanis had now virtually turned into a crime hub with vast opportunities for the criminal elements.

In the city where Taliban were a new addition, besides political and ethnic criminals, as many as 33417 acts of crime were reported, the figure which was higher than 2011 and lower than 2010. In 2011 some 30547 crimes were reported whereas the figure remained 59196 during the year 2010.

Murder and Target Killings: Unabated target killings continued for the whole year claiming 2370 lives while thousands others were injured in different acts of political, ethnic and sectarian violence in the troubled costal city.

The menace of target killings could not be controlled despite tall claims by Sindh government and LEAs and the fact that couple of hearings of Karachi Law and Order Case also happened in the Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry in 2012. As many as 12 people were gunned down on the last day of previous year.

The people who became victims of violence also included 2 journalists and a known Islamic scholar Maulana Aslam Shaikuouri. 121 traders lost their lives as well whereas 13 small kids were killed in different acts of violence.

In January 126 persons including 6 police personnel, 5 lawyers and 2 doctors were killed by unknown assailants. In February some 116 people had lost their lives which also included the member of Bawani family.

In March 144 people including 2 women, 2 ASI, 4 police constables and a lawyer and his son were targeted by the unknown assailants. In April some 178 lost their lives whereas the score remained 156 in May including 14 deaths as a result of attack at Mohabat-e-Sindh Rally.

In June as many as 198 people were gunned down including army personnel and 7 policemen. In July 196 people lost their lives whereas attack on SPARCO bus in Saeedabad claimed several human lives. In August around 194 people had fallen prey to the acts of violence in the city; whereas in September 282 people were killed including an MPA, former town nazim, police personnel and women.

In October the target killers took lives of some 287 people including 17 policemen and a FC personal. The month proved fatal for the police forces. During November 195 persons lost their lives including leaders of MQM-H. Some 198 persons became victims of target killing spree during the last month. December 25 proved to be the deadliest as 20 lost their lives on the fateful day.

The target killings took lives of 222 during the holly month of Ramadan. Orangi Town, Katti Pahari, Banaras, Liyari, Malir, Kharadar, old city area, Pak colony and other slum areas of the city saw worst form of violence where a large number of people were gunned down.

Blast and Suicide Attacks: As many as 38 persons including police and rangers personnel lost their lives in 59 bomb blasts and two suicide attacks in the city during year 2012. Some 200 other were seriously injured in these acts of terrorism.

The big incident reported during the year was fatal suicide attack at the headquarters of the Sachal Rangers in North Nazimabad area in which 150 kg explosive was used.

The first bomb blast of the year occurred on 28 January in Liaquatabad area injuring 4 people. Blast also occurred in Behar colony, Faqeer Dra Khan, Agra Taj colony, Hub, Le-market, Buffer Zone, Mawach Goth, Qaidabad, Shah Latif Town, Keemari, Noorani hotel, Clifton, Gulberg, Safari Park, Board Office, Bohri Compound, Maghopir, Abbas Town, Gulshan-e-Maemar, Orangi, Bhains colony and old city area. The last blast in Sargodha bound bus on 29 December killed 6 while 52 other were injured in this mysterious blast.

Police Victims: The target killers and terrorism did not spare the personnel of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) especially police force which according to figures released by Sindh Police lost 113 of its personal during the year that proved deadliest for the coastal city. Those killed during year 2012 also included 27 CID policemen, 3 Rangers personnel whereas one FC solider was also murdered.

Dead Bodies: This kind of crime, which had been one of the criminal attributes of Karachi in the past, also witnessed boast as 555 dead bodies packed in bags were found in the city. According to police, the bullet-ridden bodies were thrown by the target killers. June and July scored high number of dead bodies while 14 dead bodies were recovered during the last month of the year.

Road Accidents: The road accidents also remained main cause of deaths in Karachi as according to official data 1011 people were killed in road accidents in different areas of the city. August was the deadliest month during the year in which some 115 persons lost their lives in some fatal road accidents.

According to police, the number could be higher as in most cases the deceased were not taken to hospital for reporting the deaths. According to unofficial data, some 15745 traffic accidents occurred in the city in which 9489 were the fatal ones. According to sources, a large number of teenagers especially the school going children were injured.

The authorities have declared 24 different roads in the metropolis including M.A Jinnah Road, Share Faisal, Korangi Road, Maripur Road, National Highway, University Road, Rashid Minhas Road and II Chundrigar Road the most dangerous routes where a high number of road accidents was reported.

Kidnapping for Ransom: Kidnapping is a traditional industry in Karachi, but has seen rise over the last couple of years. In 2012, all previous records were broken as 117 cases of kidnapping were reported overtaking the score of 2011 which was 100. According to the data available to the Frontier Post the registered cases had exceeded 117 whereas the number of unreported cases was very higher than those being reported.

SP AVCC, Niazi Ahmed Khoso told this scribe that 114 of the total 117 kidnapping cases were resolved while police were trying their hard to recovered 3 victims being still with kidnappers. However, sources said most of these cases were settled after paying ransom money to the captors.

According to police, as many as 5 groups were involved in kidnapping including the one being operated from Quetta enjoying the support of Liari Gang War. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group had become active during the last year. This group made contact with the families from Wazirsitan and other tribal areas, police informed.

Another group operating from Interior Sindh allegedly used girls to kidnap the well-off persons. The Additional Secretary Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Muhammad Ramadan, kidnapped by this group from the limits of Aziz Bhatti Police Station in Karachi was released from Gothki in Interior Sindh after paying Rs. 7.5 million as ransom. Another person was recovered from Shikarpur after a deal of Rs. 10 million with abductors.

Menace of Extortion: Extortion became epidemic during the year 2012 as more than 800 incidents of extortions were reported during the year. Many markets, shops were targeted for refusing to pay the extortion money. According to sources, four main groups had been involved in the extortion whereas as many as a dozen of small groups also operated in the city.

According the Anti Extortion Cell (AEC), many of the extortionists were released due to unavailability of the witnesses. The Auto Spare Market Dealer said some 200 incidents of extortions happened in the market but only 12 were reported due to fear of being killed by the extortionists.

According to Anti Extortion Cell, as many as 338 complaints were received during the last year of which 250 were entertained whereas 55 were rejected on different grounds.

Killing on Train Tracks: As many as 69 people including 5 children and 7 women were killed when the trains overran them in different areas of Karachi. Most of the incidents took place in the limits of Cantt Railway Police Station where 44 people were killed. Some 21 others were killed in the jurisdiction of Landhi Railway Police Station. In addition, 25 people also committed suicides on the railway tracks.

The incident took place in the area where no safety measurements were provided by the railway department. According to spokesman of Railway Police, most of the citizen got killed due to their own carelessness that instead of over bridges, they had crossed the tracks without noticing the arrival of trains. He said the penalty of 6 months imprisonment and Rs 4,000 of fine under section 122 of the Railway Police Act could control the incidents but that could not be implemented due to certain difficulties.

Car Snatching: As many as 27287 vehicles, including the official four-wheelers were snatched in the city during the year 2012. According to the record of CPLC, 22305 motorcyclists were deprived of their bikes whereas 4737 cars were also snatched in different areas of the metropolis.

Police Performance: The police, the Law Enforcement Agency (LEAs) shouldering the main responsibly to maintain peace in the city, claimed they had arrested 1813 absconders and 186 most wanted terrorists besides apprehending as many as 11074 accused and criminals and recovering 7115 weapons, 1472 mobile phones, 1355 motorcycles, 505 vehicle phones and indefinite amount of cash from their possession.

The police performance report from 1st Jan 2012 to 13 Dec 2012 also listed that 108 dacoits were killed in 1197 police encounters. The IG Sindh also claimed to have eradicated 915 criminal groups from the city.

Published on January 1, 2013

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/200064/

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Author: Naimat

Karachi based journalist, writing on national and international issues.

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