HRCP shows concern on sharp rise in Karachi killings

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has noted with grave concern a steep rise in the killing of citizens in Karachi violence in the first six months of this year.

hrcpReleasing the stats to the media through a press statement, HRCP reported that as many as 1,726 people had been killed in violence in the port city until the end of June in 2013. HRCP highlighted that all the figures were based on newspaper reports.

Those killed included victims of sectarian violence, targeted killings, as well as over a hundred people whose dead bodies were found in the city and who appeared to have died in incidents of violence.

Over the same period last year, based on media reports, HRCP had counted the killing of 1,215 citizens in violence in Karachi. HRCP noted that in each of the six months in 2013, the killings were much higher than the corresponding period last year.

As many as 291 people were killed in January 2013 (compared to 153 in January 2012), 271 in February (149 in February 2012), 311 in March (182 in March 2012), 262 in April (258 in April 2012), 278 in May (244 in May 2012), and 313 in June (229 in June 2012).

Though the number of fatalities in violence was by no means small in the previous year, however, in 2013 the number never dipped below 250 in any month from January to June 2013. In 2012, in only three months—April, May and June— the number of citizens killed was over 200. For the first six months of 2012, the number of people losing their lives in violence was highest (258) in June.

Over the six-month period in 2013, as many as 73 people were killed in attacks deemed to have sectarian motives; 203 people were killed after being abducted; 545 people who did not have any overt political affiliations were killed in attacks; and 178 political activists (48 in June alone) were killed. The fatalities also included 92 policemen and 18 personnel of paramilitary forces. Dead bodies of 101 people were found in the city during the period under review. Bomb blasts claimed 92 lives and the Lyari gang war another 41. Forty-nine people were killed by robbers, and another 57 in police encounters.

HRCP stated that despite the high number of people killed in the port city month after month, curbing the violence and the consequent killings did not appear to be a priority for the authorities. It said that the inability or unwillingness to improve law and order, and the failure to apprehend the killers and bring them to justice was as callous as it was inexplicable.

HRCP expressed concern that the fatalities were increasingly being seen as mere statistics rather than loss of human beings which reflected a failure of the state to protect human life. The impact that the killings had on the families of the victims and society at large was not being given the attention that it deserved, the Commission added.

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