With the senseless killings in Karachi getting out of hand, never before has the spectre of turmoil been so dispiriting. The conflagration prompted the COAS General Kayani to assure the civilian setup that the army stands ready to clean up the city -- if asked. The heavy toll in death that Karachi continues to pay has also led the Supreme Court to come to the conclusion that an operation is now necessary. The court was thoroughly disappointed with the job done by Rangers and senior police officials particularly over apprehending the perpetrators of the Abbass Town massacre.

In the ensuing fire, the political parties based in the province have been adding fuel to it. Patronisation of violence and turf wars is not a new phenomenon that Karachities have to bear; what happened the other day was an eerie reminder of the ways the ruthlessness of the sort has been hitting at the life of the city. From the swift albeit incredible manner the strike called by the MQM paralysed the city in a matter of minutes, its sway appears no longer to be in dispute. The call for the strike was withdrawn after a few hours following which things calmed down as though by magic. Obviously, with so much street power, the contention that the MQM has nothing to do with the ongoing mischief or that it cannot stop it seems quite invalid. But the smoke that invariably bellows from the arson attacks, ethnic bloodletting, strikes and bomb explosions represents a larger can of worms with other groups fighting on their respective fronts. It would not be entirely alright to point the finger of accusation in just one direction. As the intelligence agencies have been apprising the Supreme Court, a whole range of criminal groups, militant outfits and some religio-political elements have spread their tentacles around. That explains why the police, already plagued by politicisation has been a mere spectator. The Sindh government relieved the IG Sindh of his command but would that stop the cycle of killings. It is hence in the fitness of things to stomp on the plague responsible for unrest regardless of its political or religious affiliation.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik, however, exuded deep pessimism over the possibility of elections in view of the prevailing violence. If merely expressing remorse and making verbal assaults on the opposition is his job, he has got it down to a fine art; never mind the fact that his own laxity has a lot to do in taking things at this end. Whatever the remedy that Karachi needs to wriggle free from the unrelenting grip of the curse of bloodshed, it should be dispensed.