During the Karachi unrest case hearing, there were frequent cry fouls of no-go areas in the city. Such a repetitive argument forced the Superior Court judges to make up their mind on delimitation of constituencies across the city. The court termed this action to break the monopoly of certain political parties. Court also proposed to depute armed soldiers to oversee the re-confirmation of electoral lists. However, events of Dec 18 tell another story. Yes, there are no-go areas in Karachi, not for political works but for health workers. Four lady health workers were gunned down in cold blood in Pashtun majority localities in Karachi. Their fault, the unfortunate ladies were part of the team administrating polio drops to children in Karachi rural areas.

Karachi has not seen this kind of madness until IDPs (internally displaced people) from Fata (and some from Swat) started arriving in throngs from 2005 onwards. Most of them got accommodation in shanty towns in Karachi’ rural areas, re-creating the environment from where they had come, while Karachi did nothing to merge them in the main stream life, they were left on the fringes to practice their own rules. Along with IDPs came the tribal culture and believes that polio drops are being administrated at the behest of the West to sterilise Muslim boys.

The workers should be provided protection during polio campaign in the so-called ‘tribal areas’ in Karachi which have become no-go areas for police. Pakistan is one of the only three countries (others are Afghanistan and Nigeria) where polio cases are on the rise while elsewhere in the world this crippling disease is on the retreat. Should we request suo motto action by Superior Court to force the government to take some real action to make the polio campaign safe for volunteers?


Saudi Arab, December 19.