The stubborn beast of unabated violence in Karachi sometimes reminds me of a movie giant in the 1930’s stop motion animated film, King Kong. This film revolves around a giant monster which somehow manages to enter New York City and starts causing destruction in the busy streets of Manhattan. The city authorities and rescue workers look utterly helpless until a squadron of military warplanes comes and shoots it to death. In fact, a King-Kong type urban destroyer has also been active in the city of Karachi for a long time and ruthlessly taken the lives of thousands of innocent Karachites so far. Presently, in the face of the vociferousness of this beast, the government and all law enforcing agencies look utterly feeble and powerless.

Following some political developments in Sindh in the 1980’s, this forceful King Kong made its ferocious entrance into the city of Karachi. Since then, it has significantly strengthened its position in the city and now nobody can dare to challenge it in any way. The successive political and military regimes in the country have been considering it quite expedient to continue to stay with this monster. Now, the 2012 Baldia Town factory inferno, the worst incident in Pakistan’s history is also being attributed to King Kong. Declaring it foul-play, the JIT (Joint Investigation) report submitted by the Rangers in Sindh High Court points fingers at a specific political party. Undoubtedly, it was one of the greatest tragedies in the history of the country and more than 250 factory workers were burnt alive.

In fact, the acts of target killing, bomb blasts, extortion and kidnapping for ransom have somehow become the order of the day in the city. According to a report prepared by HRCP, some 2,909 people were killed in various acts of violence in Karachi last year. Likewise, 3,251 innocent Karachiites lost their lives in the streets of the city in the year 2013. Therefore, it is estimated that the so-called King Kong kills some two to three thousand people in this city every year. Now, we can imagine how many human lives have been lost since the advent of this monster in the late 1980’s. In a sense, the death toll in Karachi has outnumbered the casualties we have suffered since the joining of the war on terror in Pakistan. Sadly, we have successfully evolved some political consensus and national resolve to fight terrorism in the country but on the other hand, have miserably failed in significantly evaluating the issue of Karachi in its true perspective.

As a matter of fact, the political dimension of this issue has always been all important and most relevant. The military dictator Zia-ul-Haq is generally blamed for deliberately introducing and promoting some ethno-linguistic political entities in urban Sindh to counter his rival party, the PPP. Afterwards, this urban political configuration of Sindh and both ruling political parties have been exploiting each other to accomplish their political objectives throughout the 1990’s. The ex-president General Pervez Musharraf also resorted to this political card to express and consolidate his political strength in the county. The last PPP government has been tackling this issue in accordance with its ‘charter of reconciliation.’

Presently, the apathetic and indifferent attitude of both federal and provincial governments vis-à-vis the Karachi conundrum is quite visible. The Prime Minster seems powerless to tackle this issue beyond holding high-profile administrative meetings in Karachi and evolving a political consensus along with both the so-called political stakeholders of Sindh. The octogenarian Chief Minister of Sindh hardly has any capacity to resolve the tortuous affairs of the city. Representing only the rural segment of the province, the provincial government also looks in no mood of taking concrete steps to set things right in the urban areas of the province.

Regrettably, the current apathetic attitude towards the city of Karachi has also been retained by the so-called political protagonists of change in the past. During the last general election, PTI’s much-hyped “tsunami” remained confined to the plains of the Punjab leaving this coastal city at the mercy of a long-existing political status quo. Naturally, coastal areas are more prone to the sea storms like tsunami than the plains and mountains. Imran Khan didn’t hold any impressive election rally in the city during these elections. Sometimes, our ‘free media’ also seems to be in chains and shackles when it comes to expose the actual face of certain power players in the city. The electronic media has frequently been found extending full-fledged and uninterrupted live coverage to a single leader of a particular political party of this city. Similarly, the so-called establishment has also not made any substantial deliberate attempt to get this city rid of all undesirable criminal elements.

The MQM has out-rightly rejected the JIT report and demanded an independent judicial inquiry into the Baldia Town fire incident. Keeping in view its sensitivity and gravity, the matter must be referred to a high-powered judicial inquiry commission to precisely determine the actual facts behind this gruesome act. In case of any foul-play, the government should also seriously consider transferring this case to the newly-established military courts for a speedy trial of the culprits. The matter shouldn’t fall prey to the usual political expediency and politics of pragmatism. We have to destroy this vociferous monster, the King Kong, to stop it from further playing havoc on the peace and order of the city. The issue of Karachi needs to be addressed in line with the issue of terrorism in other parts of the country.