PATRIOTIC citizens have been gravely concerned over target killings in the country that certain rival groups carry out to eliminate their perceived enemies, whether these killings take place in Karachi, Lahore or a relatively obscure place. Karachi, the most blighted city as far as this kind of ruthlessness is concerned, has always roused fears that in case an important political figure were to fall victim, it might spark off a wave of violent murders, harking back to the days when the metropolis had become a dreaded place to go about. Besides, there lurks another danger, adding to the worries of the people, i.e. the brittle security situation at the moment prevailing could be easily exploited by elements who are out to destabilise the country. The terrorist outfits, sectarian organisations, anti-social gangs or foreign hostile forces, which have unfortunately been allowed to proliferate in society, would be on the lookout for troubled waters to fish in. It is premature to assign blame to an individual or an organisation - political, sectarian or militant - that had engaged the assassin who sprayed bullets into the well known MQM Sindh Assembly MPA Raza Haider on Monday, killing him, as he had entered a mosque and was performing the ritual pre-prayer ablutions. The observations of an MQM leader, who accused the ANP, or Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who believed that Sipah-i-Sahaba was at the back of it, are hardly credible, unless borne out by the investigators who have yet to begin their work. These remarks uttered in the heat of the moment could, at this point of time, be at best termed as mere suspicions. The assassination provoked widespread anger and resentment not only among MQM circles, but also among others in society. As often happens on such occasions in this part of the world, and as had been feared, there were violent protests. So far 46 persons have died and 120 injured in the shooting spree that subsequently took place in Karachi. It is difficult at this stage to measure the loss that vandals have caused to property. In this volatile situation, all political parties and influential individuals must strive to restore calm before the situation becomes even worse. The appeal in this context, issued by the leaders of various political parties, including MQM chief Altaf Hussain who was the most aggrieved at losing a high-ranking lieutenant of long standing, is welcome. The probe must go into the causes of Raza Haiders murder and identify the forces which are responsible for creating mayhem in the city. One would hope that once the factors behind the target killings are known, the authorities would seriously address themselves to removing them. The probe would also help bring out the role of such militant elements in the rest of the country, making it easier to tackle them.