The situation in Karachi has not yet achieved normality, but is headed in that direction, with an end, or perhaps a hiatus, in killings on Thursday, after an appeal for peace by MQM chief Altaf Hussain. It followed Housing Minister Zulfiqar Mirzas apology for the remarks, which had set in motion the protests that led to no less than 18 deaths in the 24 hours before the cessation, with 35 vehicles and 12 shops set on fire. This latest round of bloodletting was in addition to more than 100 people killed in the last week, before the weekend saw the killings come to an end. Dr Mirza should be obliged to keep his views to himself, now that it is apparent how much violence they can engender. This break in violence should also be better used to bring all the stakeholders on board and make sure they join their heads to work out how to bring peace to the countrys industrial hub, financial capital and sole port. It should not be forgotten that trouble in Karachi has national repercussions, and there should not be satisfaction over Thursdays pacification, because that affords no permanent solution. The most worrisome aspect of all that has happened in Karachi so far is that there is no sign of any action to nab the culprits. Unless they are captured and given condign punishment, the countrys largest city will continue in the throes of violence. If the criminals continue to enjoy the impunity they have been given so far, there is no reason to suppose that there has been more than a temporary stop to killings. Not only must the criminals be brought to book, but the faces of those behind them must be exposed. If there has been any political protection of criminal elements, it must cease now.