2013 IN Focus : Target killing remains most used tool to silence opposition

2013 IN Focus : Target killing remains most used tool to silence opposition

KARACHI: The year 2013 witnessed one of the worst security situations in the country's commercial hub, with nearly 3,000 killings in political and sectarian violence and targeted attacks. Over the year, the city faced violence of all sorts and frequent killings despite tall claims made by the authorities concerned. 
As the situation deteriorated every passing day, apart from frequent murders of common citizens, political and religious workers, attacks and killings of personnel in law enforcement agencies also became a routine.
Statistical data shows a 20 percent increase in targeted killings in 2013, compared to 2012, when 2,400 people lost their lives in different acts of violence.
According to the data provided by law enforcement agencies, premeditated murders topped the list of methods employed by terrorists and criminals alike to get rid of 'unwanted' people.
At least 2,214 people lost their lives in targeted killings, 125 people lost their lives in 26 major bomb blasts and hand grenade attacks, while 661 shot dead torture-marked bodies were found across the metropolis.

Law enforcers

According to estimates, as many as 197 law enforcement personnel, including Army soldiers, Navy personnel, Air Force personnel, Rangers and policemen have been killed in targeted attacks in different areas of the metropolis. Police high-ups say it is the highest killing rate of law enforcers over the years. In the previous year, the number of law enforcers, who were killed stood around 143. 
Of the total 197 killings of law enforcers, 179 were policemen, including three deputy superintendents of police, three inspectors, 14 sub-inspectors, 16 assistant sub-inspectors, 30 head constables and 86 constables. The remaining murdered were five Army solders, two Navy men, one Air Force man and 10 Rangers' personnel.
Most of the officers were killed in district West, where 19 policemen were killed in SITE Town alone. On the last day of 2013, DSP Baharuddin Babar was gunned down in SITE area.
Nominated areas, where most cops were killed are Orangi Town, Pirabad, Qasba Colony, Manghopir, Kunwari Colony, Pakhtunabad, Landhi, Quaidabad, Muzaffarabad, Korangi, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad and Sohrab Goth. Tehreek-e-Taliban Karachi chapter dominates these areas. It is worth mentioning here that neither the Taliban nor Lyari gangsters allowed policemen to roam inside their strongholds.

Sectarian strife

Sectarian killing also continued throughout the year in which at least 292 people lost their lives. People affiliated with Shia sect and workers and supporters of defunct Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), renamed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ) were killed on sectarian grounds through the year.
The ASWJ claimed at least 70 workers and 80 sympathisers of Deoband school of thought were killed in 2013, while Shaheed Foundation revealed that some 142 people died in blasts targeting Shias. The statistics proved it was the worst year for sectarian killing after the mid 90s wave. 
On the other hand, killing of political workers also continued in the city claiming hundreds of lives. As many as 139 workers of MQM, 37 of ANP, 26 of PPP, 17 of Sunni Tehreek, five of MQM-H, six workers of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and one of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf were killed.
District West is the second largest part of the city where crime rate remained high and people, including the workers affiliated with ANP and MQM were targeted in numerous attacks.
According to a report published by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 1,800 people died during the first six months of 2013, 291 people were killed in January, 271 in February, 311 in March, 262 in April, 278 in May and 313 in June.
From July to December as many as 1,106 people lost their lives, 191 people were killed in July, 313 in August, 177 in September, 139 in October, 170 in November and 117 in December.

Bomb attacks

In the year 2013, Abbas Town bomb blast was the major cause of casualties, with a death toll nearing 50. At least 45 people were killed in the attack and hundreds wounded.
The terrorists also targeted the election companions of different political parties, including the PPP, MQM and ANP, in which a high number of political workers were killed.

High profile murders 

Many key personalities left us last year, including JI leader Hakim Mehmood Ahmed Barkati, MQM MPAs Syed Manzar Imam and Sajid Qureshi, PML-N leader Taimoor and Advocate Naimat Ali Randhawa, Mufti Abdul Majeed Din Poori, Mufti Saleh Mohammad, lieutenant commander of Pakistan Navy, OPP director Parveen Rehman, gang war criminal Arshad Pappu and his brother Yasir Arafat, PTI leader Zehra Shahid, Bilawal House chief security officer Bilal Sheikh, ASWJ spokesman Maulana Akbar Saeed Farooqi and Shia leader Allama Deedar Ali Jalbani.
Among all the high profile cases, murder of senior lawyer Advocate Naimat Ali Randhawa was of a highly sensitive nature due to links with Wali Khan Babar case, and arrest of prime suspect, MQM target killer Kazim Abbas Rizvi.

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