Press Release, December 1
Lahore: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed shock at the loss of life in recent violence in Karachi and urged the government to ensure that the city is de-weaponised and no one is allowed to fan ethnic strife there.
A statement issued by the HRCP on Monday said: “The loss of life and property in Karachi in acts of indiscriminate violence in the past two days is truly alarming. Deployment of paramilitary force in the sensitive areas to help control the situation is needed, but such deployment and shoot-at-sight orders do not address the causes of violence. Talibanization is no doubt a serious threat not only in Karachi, but for the whole of Pakistan, however, that cannot be justified as a pretext to fan ethnic violence.
It is shocking and beyond comprehension that some political leaders were urging Karachites to buy weapons. Also disappointing have been the slogans for expulsion from Karachi of citizens from other provinces. The Constitution guarantees every citizen’s right to live in any part of the country, and this right cannot be compromised.
The extent and use of weapons in the hands of non-state actors in the city in the last few days has been horrific. The government should ensure deweaponisation of the city in a truly unbiased manner. The possibility of the government achieving that depends to a large extent on it convincing the citizens of its ability and willingness to protect all so that they need not keep private arms to protect themselves. The significance of impartial action cannot be emphasized enough. Picking favourites must be avoided as that could lead to disastrous consequences.”