On Saturday, there were 16 killed in Karachi, in addition to the 26 killed on the first day of violence in the city. The violence is happening against the backdrop of the controversy over the Sindh Home Ministers remarks about the Peoples Amn Committees, which made the MQM threaten to pull out of the ruling coalition, and obliged it to send a delegation to the President himself. That no delegation has gone to complain that the main MQM stronghold Karachi is virtually under siege indicates that the safety of the citizenry is not a prime concern of the coalition of the PPP and the MQM. It is not that long ago that Karachi was virtually paralysed by a bout of target killings, only this January in fact, with 25 people killed by the weekend of January 15-16. This had led to the calling in, yet another time, of the Rangers. As the recent bloodbath has made clear, that was not a lasting solution. It seems that the only real solution is for an end to the protection of criminals by political parties. There is no point in mutual recrimination. That has already been tried, with the MQM having been accused of involvement in previous killings by its coalition partners, the PPP and the ANP, and its returning the favour. Dr Zulfiqar Mirza entered the MQMs bad books by saying that it was behind the target killings. That will solve nothing. What is needed is for target killers to be caught and then punished, regardless of any political influence that might be brought to bear. If that is done, and only if so, the evil can be rooted out. Law and order in Karachi is nationally important. Because the megapolis is also the countrys financial and industrial capital, as well as its sole port. If it suffers any paralysis, the whole country is affected. Another factor, which must not be neglected, is that the city is also a magnet for migration from all over the country. Because of this, and as a hangover from a decade and a half as the national capital, it is not only the countrys largest city, but also has a multi-ethnic character. Thus, any unrest there will create unease in the rest of the country, because so many families have relatives with interests in Karachi, and quite likely living there. Karachi is particularly sensitive because of this economic dimension. For too long has it been allowed to grow so lawless. Before this bad habit becomes too hardened, it is essential to clamp down on wrongdoing by giving punishment where it is due. The government must do that without regard to any political or party interests it might have. Even the federal governments continued existence is not worth the bloodletting that is going on.