ISLAMABAD: Keeping in view the bloodshed in Pakistan over the years, a price tag of Rs2,000 for a head by an outlaw seems quite generous. If the arrested target killer Javed Punjabi’s claims are genuine, at least his bosses gave some value to human life – paying him Rs2,000 to kill one person. The target killer was apprehended from Purana Golimar around a month ago.In Pakistan, targeted killings have been a rising form of violence and have contributed to life insecurity in the country. They have become common and have gained attention especially in Karachi, the country’s largest city and economic capital, and also in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan.

For most part, targeted killings in Karachi have been attributed to political, religious and ethnic reasons. There have been speculations but no real proof has been found against any party of sponsoring killings as a policy.Karachi is a cosmopolitan city and consists of many ethnic communities, the city’s demographics play an important role in its politics. Ethnic politics have resulted in sporadic violence throughout Karachi’s history, often leading to bloody conflicts. Terrorism in Pakistan has become a major and highly destructive phenomenon in recent years. The annual death toll from terrorist attacks has risen from 164 in 2003 to thousands recently.

The security forces have been successful in containing terrorist acts lately as civilian deaths in 2015 (940) and 2016 (56) were significantly lower than in the preceding years – the first time since 2006 that the figures were below a thousand. In 2012 and 2013 the civilian deaths were more than 3,000. Since the terrorist activities touched the peak, the common man had started to believe the life had lost its value. You could get killed in a mosque, in a market, at your workplace and inside the educational institutions. The only rewards would be media coverage or condemnations of the act.

At this point the value of a victim’s life is quite significant – though it was paid to the assassin. Yesterday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan vowed to also win psychological war against target killers and terrorists after cornering them in the battlefield. He issued directives to the security personnel including Rangers and police to enhance patrolling.

Also yesterday, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif confirmed death sentences to another 12 hardcore terrorists. These terrorists – tried by military courts – were involved in terrorist activities, including breaking of Bannu jail, attacks on Armed Forces, Law Enforcement Agencies and civilians. Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr Musadik Malik said with mutual consensus of all the political parties, National Action Plan (NAP) was constituted to root out the menace of terrorism.He said the government valued the lives of its citizens and would do all it could to eliminate the menace of terrorism. He said setting Rs2,000 as value for a life was an insult to humanity.

Minister of State for Interior Balighur Rehman said the government was giving top priority to the effective implementation of NAP. “The government has introduced certain policies for international security and NAP is also the part of that. Terrorism has reduced and security situation has improved in the country,” he added.

He said the government will continue the operation against the terrorists in Karachi and other areas of the country. “We are also taking certain measures to improve the security of educational and other institutions. The government is keen to utilise all available resources to cope with the menace of terrorism,” Rehman said. Defence analyst Lt-Gen Moeenuddin Haider (r) said there had been great progress in Karachi operation. “Security forces have achieved great success in it so far yet it should continue till the elimination of last terrorist. Now, the people in Karachi have been spending their lives in a peaceful environment. The security forces have given the due value to the life of a common man,” he added.

He said Karachi people have been paying taxes more than the people in other provinces. “Provincial government has so far been unsuccessful in delivering to people of Karachi just because of bad governess,” he remarked. Air Marshall Shahid Latif (r), another defence analyst, said the 20-point National Action Plan was aimed to deal the terrorists with iron hands. Pakistan army, he said, has destroyed the hideouts and networks of the terrorists across Pakistan.With the improving security situation in the country, the value of a human life is bound to grow beyond Rs2,000.