An official of a Pakistani civic organization fears Bosnia-like ethnic cleansing could take place Karachi, where over a thousand people have been killed in targeted political killings so far this year, according to a dispatch in The New York Times on Thursday. Amber Alibhai, the secretary general of Citizens for a Better Environment, was quoted by the Times as saying, If our government is not going to wake up, I fear Karachi will have ethnic cleansing like Bosnia. Theres no one to stop it. Whose going to stop it? The police? The army? They cant. "Drive-by shootings motivated by political and ethnic rivalries have reached new heights," correspondent Jane Perlez wrote from Karachi. "Marauding gangs are grabbing tracts of land to fatten their electoral rolls. Drug barons are carving out fiefs, and political parties are commonly described as having a finger in all of it." The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan recently reported that 1,350 people had been in Karachi's in targeted killings, more than the number killed in terrorist attacks in all of Pakistan. "That tally has solidified Karachis grim distinction as Pakistans most deadly place, outside its actual war zones, where the army is embroiled in pushing back a Taliban insurgency," the dispatch said. "Indeed, it is the effect of the war, which has displaced many thousands of ethnic Pashtuns from the northern tribal areas and sent them to this southern port, that has inflamed Karachis always volatile ethnic balance. For the most part, extremists who torment the rest of Pakistan with suicide bomb attacks exploit the turmoil here to hide, recruit and raise funds. "The attack last week on the police headquarters by a suicide bomber that killed dozens was the exception, the first attack by extremists against a government institution in the city. Far more common have been killing by gangs affiliated with ethnic-based political parties hunting for turf in a city undergoing seismic demographic change." The M.Q.M., which dominates Karachi, has a long association with violence. In 1992, the army moved into Karachi to suppress it, accusing it of a four-year rampage of torture and murder, The Times pointed out. "The latest challenge to the M.Q.M.s hold is the influx of Pashtuns who have fled the war to seek work and shelter in Karachis slums. Though the Pashtuns number some five million here now, they remain politically underrepresented, and the frustrations of the newcomers have increasingly been channeled into violent retribution by the Awami National Party, or A.N.P.", the dispatch said. "The two sides have set their gangs on each other. In August, after a senior M.Q.M. member was shot to death at a funeral, more than 100 people were killed in a weeklong orgy of violence. "The army, asked by some political parties to move in again and keep the peace, declined. During the by-election last month to fill the provincial assembly seat left vacant by the murder, more than 30 people were killed. "In that rampage, members of a self-styled peoples peace committee affiliated with the Pakistan Peoples Party, which leads the national government and considers this province, Sindh, its base, stormed an outdoor market on motorcycles and shot 12 Mohajir shopkeepers", the dispatch said, citing police. Hours later, seven men of ethnic Baloch origin were killed, apparently in revenge for the deaths of the Mohajirs, Zafar Baloch, a spokesman for the peace committee, was quoted as saying. "The cost of Karachis violence hurts all of Pakistan. More liberal than the rest of the country in decorum and religious belief, Karachi is the economic engine of the nation, home to petrochemical plants, steel works, advertising agencies and high-tech start-ups. "The rich live in grand houses in gated communities paved with broad boulevards. The poor live in neighborhoods like Lyari, a slum with little sanitation, fleeting electricity and hardscrabble roads that sits under an expressway. Other megacities in the developing world like Shanghai and Mumbai, India manage law and order through political leadership that is absent in Karachi, Farrukh Saleem, a political analyst, was quoted as saying. "A scared, understaffed and in some cases complicit police force compounds the problem," the dispatch said. "That was the message of a new report by a parliamentary committee that said 603 police officers had been assassinated since 1996. This year, 33 officers have been killed, the report said. Many of these senior police officers were targeted, the report said, as retribution for the military action against the M.Q.M. in 1992, a sign of long memory of the M.Q.M., it said. "But it is the persistent lack of Pashtun representation in the city and provincial governments that underlies the troubles," said Abdul Qadir Patel, the chairman of the committee that wrote the report and a Pakistan Peoples Party member of Parliament. The Pashtuns are frustrated and the A.N.P. says, 'Well fight back, Patel was quoted as saying. In rare candor for a Pakistani government document, his report said ethnicity, sectarianism, perceived insecurity due to demographic changes, gang war between mafias and clash of interests among workers of political parties have been the real cause of violence in Karachi. Of 178 boroughs in the 18 towns of Karachi, only 4 are controlled by the Pashtuns. Of 168 seats in the provincial assembly of Sindh, where Karachi is located, the A.N.P., the party of the Pashtuns, has just 2. Based on Karachis demographics, Pashtuns could have up to 25 seats in the provincial legislature, Saleem wrote. That is political power way out of sync with demographic realities. As part of the push and pull in the demographic war, the major political parties use armed thugs to commandeer public land so they can gerrymander election districts, said Mrs. Alibhai of the citizens group. One of her groups workers was killed last year trying to protect a park. Land grabbing is used by political parties to increase their electoral mandate and enhance their financial position, she said. A recent former M.Q.M. mayor of Karachi, Syed Mustafa Kamal, denied that his party, which has long been favoured by Washington for its secular outlook, was involved in the killing of Pashtuns. Kamal, who as mayor from 2005 until this year is credited with extending running water to several Pashtun neighbourhoods, said Karachi was the rightful home of the Mohajirs. The Pashtun, he said, harbour the Taliban and foment terrorist attacks. We are the victims, he insisted.