IT is unfortunate that the violence in Karachi is assuming dangerous proportions and that too at a time when the country is facing external threats. However, considering the history of feuds and bloodshed in the city, one should have expected that the political administration would have taken due precautionary measures to forestall the ugly situation and protect the lives and property of citizens. The Prime Minister has asked his Advier on Interior to take stock of the situation and let him know what ails the City after the killing spree has engulfed most of its areas. The government's writ only appears to take a backseat to the mounting chaos as gun-toting thugs belonging to different groups roam the streets and spread fear among the public. The atmosphere in the City right now is marked by panic and fear: people are not willing to step outside their homes, a number of vehicles and public offices have been torched, the public transport system stands completely paralyzed and even the hospitals taking care of the injured have been fired upon. The death toll has now risen to 30 with over 200 badly wounded. According to reports, what sparked the strife was the ongoing tussle between members of rival ethnic groups that had for long been fighting to take control of Pakistan's financial capital. The law enforcement agencies, notably the intelligence apparatus, cannot avoid their share of the blame. Besides, nothing significant has been done to bring to book the perpetrators of previous incidents of violence like May 12, when the city had gone through a virtual bloodbath. A response of the sort only tends to further encourage the troublemakers. There are reports suggestive of India's hand besides certain other external elements' involvement. Expressing grief over the situation, the MQM, ANP and other parties have urged their workers to exercise restraint. But with their clout among the general public, there is need for firmly reining in the unruly elements. The government had better be more serious and firm in cracking down on elements responsible for trying to destabilize the City, that is home to more than 12 million people. To nab the miscreants the government has issued shoot-at-sight orders, but in order to ensure normal conditions the need is to go after the offstage players that from time to time keep on pulling the strings just for the achievement of their personal and petty political gains.