KARACHI has once again fallen prey to the ethnic and political violence that sustains itself on polarisations that are now endemic within the citys body politic and its hapless civil society. The horror of shooters roaming loose in this metropolis and shooting at will targets based on ethnicity is a nightmare whose shadow has never receded totally from the city and has again cast its pall over it. This is no Taliban terrorism but a worse kind of terrorism that is indigenous and based on a dangerous creed of hatred. The victims have been primarily Pathans linked to the ANP although some Urdu-speaking victims - such is the ethnic-based language of politics in Karachi - have also been part of the grizzly terror unleashed on Karachi over the last two days. The unfortunate part is that the victims on both sides of the ethnic divide are seen as being linked to coalition partners in the government at the Centre. Yet, the politics of mafias and fascism have ignored the federal coalition and gone their own way with the provincial government seemingly helplessly caught in the crossfire - although given how one of the parties involved is also a coalition partner of the Sindh government. Various colours are being given to this latest round of targeted terrorism in Karachi - ranging from accusations of the Hazara-KP conflict being shifted to Karachi, to the linkage with the whole division of Hyderabad issue. However, whatever the underlying causes, the violence reflects the state of near-anarchy that prevails in most parts of the country - with those in power more concerned about factional and personal interests than the welfare of the citizens at large. As for law and order, it is declining rapidly across the country and is pushing Pakistan on the brink of anarchy. How else can one explain how gangs of armed killers running loose across the city targeting people at will? Where were the law enforcers of the city? Worse still, the killings were not timed at one instant moment but were spread across the day, implying that throughout this period there was a breakdown of law and order. As for the leadership of the political parties whose cadres have been involved in this clash, it is not enough to simply express regret. There has to be a firm message going through the rank and file that violence and killings are not part of the partys agenda. Both the parties involved are mainstream parties, not on the political fringes but as part of ruling coalitions and it is time for their activists to alter their creed of mafia-like behaviour and violence. If one ethnic group fears another is expanding fast in numbers in contrast to their own growth rate, this is no reason to go on a killing spree or tamper with electoral boundaries. In a cosmopolitan city like Karachi, politics have to rise above ethnicity. Otherwise the ghettoised political culture of Karachi will breed further hatred and polarisations to the detriment of the city, its population and the country as a whole.