On Friday, the National Assembly passed a unanimous resolution to bring all parties together to review the worsening situation in Karachi. The resolution underscores the sense of urgency, as hundreds have died in the last few months, victims of brutal target killings and senseless murders.
The worsening crisis in Karachi is nothing short of a matter of national security; the National Assembly is right to pursue its responsibility, and gather to assess the law and order of the city, and to offer solutions going forward.
The Corps Commanders agree. The 141st Corps Commanders Conference was held, with General Ashfaq Kayani presiding over it. In the released statement, the Commanders declared their concern about the deteriorating security, but expressed confidence in measures “taken by the government that will help resolve the situation.”
One really has to look at Pakistan’s history military interventions to understand the enormity of this Commanders statement. Because of the army’s history of intervening in domestic affairs, people looked to them to “fix” Karachi. But amidst calls for the military to tackle the violence, the army insists the civilian government is the rightful authority on domestic issues.
More guns in Karachi are certainly not the answer. In their statement, the army decided that all arms licenses issued by the Ministry of the Interior would be canceled as of September 1st, and license holders should go to the NADRA offices to obtain new license. This policy will stop the gross misuse and forgery of many existing licenses. It is important to note that it is the Ministry of the Interior that will be overseeing this process. More guns and more force will simply add to the downward spiral. The army has made a wise and very intelligent decision to keep an eye on the city, while supporting the civilian government’s role.
Coalition and opposition parties need to now take the opportunity and work together to find a political solution that addresses the concerns of all Karachiites.