KARACHI (Web Desk) – Corps Commander Naveed Mukhtar on Saturday said that all stakeholders of Karachi must shun vested interests and expediencies, and put an end to militant wings and mafias to restore sustainable peace and development in the metropolis.

Speaking at a seminar hosted by National Defence University in Karachi, the corps commander said that ethnic, political and sectarian harmony should be bridged with foresight and listening to each other’s grievances.

“I will go a step forward and suggest that a formulation of reconciliation commission would be a good step forward. Police and administration need to be liberated from interference and influence,” he said.

He said that surge in ongoing law enforcement operations and rangers operation in Karachi is continuation of national and provincial action plan aimed at flushing out terrorists, criminals and gangs and making civil machinery more effective and creating an environment for sustainable development.

“We are after terrorists, we are after target killers, we are after kidnappers and we are after extortionists and that is the mandate given to us. These operations are totally apolitical and across the board and we are trying our best to get it done according to the law of the land. There will be no tricks and expediencies.”

“During the last two months, lots of operations have been conducted against TTP and Al Qaeda, Lyari gangsters, sectarian and political criminals and other criminals.”

The ongoing operations have improved the law and order situation and general public has taken a sigh of relief. Terrorism, extortion, target killing and crimes have been reduced considerably, he said.

“Due to vested interests, some political expediencies and sponsored militancy, patronage of vested interests, ethnic, political and sectarian disharmony, because of these reasons, effects are fluctuating. However, there is downwards trend in all categories of crimes.”

“We still have to go a long way and Inshahullah, we will go. All criminals, there facilitators and networks are being challenged.”

He said : “We are doing our best to ensure prosecution of terrorists and criminals. There is also urgent requirement to go after white-collar crimes and severe their linkages with criminality.”

“We should be mindful that terrorists are trying to regroup, but will not let our efforts get scattered. There will no compromise, God willing, we will unfold them layer by layer.

“We are determined to eliminate all types of terrorists, criminals and their facilitators from Karachi. We want to strengthen administration and police to take the lead role, which is the most important thing.

He said that due to depth of great challenges, business as usual approach will have to be changed and this approach will not work.

“Karachi’s problems are generally a result of ethnic and sectarian rivalry. Special interests groups, mafias and criminals compete for power, sources and survival. Land order situation in Karachi over a period of time has suffered from series of failures and errors including administrative incompetence and political dysfunction.

“Some of these errors can and should be corrected. Order has revived and power in Karachi has defused across the greater numbers and rangers of actors. The net result is while the government remains in power, but their influence has diminished.

“We have done enough of talking on that, our actions need to be translated into meaningful, effective and coordinate response.” he said.

Karachi is a megacity and home to multi ethnic population of estimated 23 million people. This city is also called as engine of Pakistan, contributing 65 percent of national revenue. It is also the commercial capital of Pakistan. It also contributed more than 35 percent of total GDP of the country.

Karachi besides being the nerve center of Pakistan’s economic activity is also called the mini Pakistan for its stunning ethnic diversity.

“Unfortunately it has been the victim of ethnic violence since mid 1980s. Due to constant unrest, it has brought with it negative effect on Pakistan’s fragile economy and perception.

“Over the last three decades, unfortunately Karachi has slipped from a vibrant city into a violence prone urbanc center. Karachi is growing at an incredible pace. Each year, two to three thousand people join the city within and outside the country.”

Unfortunately authorities responsible for governance and administration have failed to provide necessary infrasturuture and services. Resultantly slum areas mushroomed in most parts of the city. This institutional vacuum, which was created, was filled by criminals and special interests groups whether ethnic, criminals or sectarians.

Due to lack of basic services, people turned to these syndicates for assistance and protection and restultantly this has given rise to booming land grabbing business and lucrative but illegal delivery of services like water and tanker mafias.

Competition for control of these resources by mafias and interests groups, it has also paved way for smallest drug paddlers to Al Qaeda groups.

Crime has transformed into terrorism and militancy. In Karachi, there is a perpetual tension between forces of order and disorder and balance between them defines the law and order situation in the city at a particular time. This balance to a variant degree can also be affected by national, global and regional trends that creats interests for the actors.

“More needs to be done to foster partnership for peace. In Karachi, sheered numbers and volume of stakes and divergent make consensus difficult or impossible.

“Sometimes stakeholders, who have to fix it, just disagree what needs to be done and what they are prepared to sacrifice to achieve the goal or they are reluctant to support the initiative for fair of setting a precedent that can be used against them later.

“Can we leave it unattended hoping that prevailing problems will fade away or resolve itself. The answer is big No. Inaction at our end or failure to make wiser and constructive choices, the situation will only worsen. Therefore there are steps that should be taken. The construct of effective response has to be apolitical.”