Pak Army Chief Kayani visits Karachi

Violence and target killings left the Karachites in fear and panic in the months of July and August.

Karachi: In a significant development, Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani visited the troubled city of Karachi on Wednesday in which he was briefed on the law and order situation in the city.

The Inter Services and Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed that the Army chief had visited the Corp Commanders headquarters in Karachi where he was briefed on the law and order and security situation in the city.

The ISPR said a delegation of Karachi traders and businessmen had also met General Kayani and discussed with him the problems they were facing because of the law and order situation.

Geo channel reported that the traders’ delegation also appreciated the Army chief`s concern expressed over the law and order situation in Karachi which is Pakistan`s biggest city and financial hub.

Violence and target killings left the Karachites in fear and panic in the months of July and August when over 300 people were killed in the violence attributed to ethnic, sectarian and political tensions in the city which is home to people from all over Pakistan and even refugees from Afghanistan.

The violence and killings reached such an ebb last month that even the Supreme Court took suo moto notice and held a series of hearings in the Karachi bench where the five-member bench headed by the Chief Justice expressed their dissatisfaction over the performance of the law enforcement and security agencies and the role of political parties in having militant wings operating in the city.

The delegation told the Army chief that the economic progress and trade activities had suffered badly in the city causing losses of billions of rupees due to the law and order situation.

The five-member bench had completed the hearing of the case on September 15 and reserved its judgement.

The bench had directed the chief of the Karachi Police to provide certificates signed by the city`s four deputy inspectors general about the measures being undertaken to curb extortion and violence in the city.

The court also asked for a report on actions taken against the Karachi`s extortion rackets every day. Since the SC took suo moto notice, the government gave extra powers to the paramilitary rangers to take action against militants and criminals which has led to an uneasy calm returning to the city.

Geo reported that the traders delegation had apprised the Army chief of the problems they faced during the last six months at the hands of criminals and extortionists and the government`s failure to provide them security despite repeated requests.

The Army chief was also given a briefing on the flood situation in the province and the relief efforts being carried out to assist the millions of families displaced in the natural catastrophe and disaster.

General Kayani`s visit to Karachi comes just two days after the Tehreek-e-Taliban claimed responsibility for an apparent suicide bomb attack at the residence of SSP police CID Chaudhary Aslam in which eight people were killed including mother and her eight year old son.

The Taliban warned they would target other senior police officials in the CID who were carrying out operations against militants and either arresting or killing them.

The government was spurred into action last month to restore law and order in Karachi after a meeting of the Corp Commanders expressed its concerns over the situation in Karachi and called for unbiased action against the people involved in the violence and killings.