Karachi violence: arrests of hardline Islamist leaders mere 'window-dressing'

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Washington, Aug.5 (ANI): Following the massive violence in Karachi, which had erupted after the murder of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) MPA Raza Haider's assassination, the local administration has nabbed several hardline Islamist leaders, however analysts believe that these efforts were more of a 'window-dressing' aimed at pacifying the growing discontent among people of the city.

Haider was killed on Monday outside the Jama Masjid which sparked massive violence in the country's financial hub. The death toll in the bloodshed has touched 82 with 24 more people being reportedly killed in the past twenty-four hours.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has put the blame on the banned sectarian militant outfits Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) for the widescale violence, but strangely enough the Karachi police has remained tight lipped over the issue and the arrests it has made in connection with various incidents of firing and arson in the city.

Badar Alam, editor of Karachi-based news weekly the Herald pointed out that the Karachi police is clueless and groping in dark even as the city continues to burn.

"They don't have any solid evidence. They don't have the right kind of clues. They are now nabbing anyone who comes in their sights, and will probably release the majority of them sooner or later," The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) quoted Alam, as saying.

Going by the state's history, it is being speculated that the people who have been taken in custody would be released soon after the mayhem subsides.

"This could be, in part, a result of the government's mixed dealings with militant groups," the CSM noted.

People also believe that the real culprits behind Haider's assassination, and the violence which followed, would never be arrested.

Sharfuddin Memon, former chairman of Karachi's Citizens-Police Liaison Committee, said that the current spate of violence suited Islamist insurgents.

"Karachi generates 70 percent of Pakistan's revenue. If you want to destabilize the whole country then the focal point should be Karachi," he said.

"We have to make our prosecution strong. The prosecution fails because the investigation is so weak - we don't have the witnesses or evidence available to mount a successful prosecution," Memon added. (ANI)

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