KARACHI - Karachi Corps Commander Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar has said the operation in Karachi would continue until peace is established while there is a determination to eliminate terrorists and their facilitators without any option of failure.

Problems of Karachi, he said, were generally a result of ethnic, sectarian and political enmity while law and order situation of the city also suffered from administrative incompetence and political dysfunction. He was addressing a seminar, tilted ‘Peace, Security and Governance’, organised by National Defence University at a hotel here on Saturday.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Rangers DG Bilal Akbar, Lt-Gen (r) Tariq Waseem Ghazi, former Sindh IG Shoaib Sadel, Sindh Education Minister Nisar Ahmed Khoro, PPP central leader Sherry Rehman and others were also present on the occasion.

Speaking as chief guest at the seminar, Lt-Gen Naveed Mukthar said that Karachi, which is said to be mini-Pakistan, contributes 65 percent of revenue. He said different banned outfits and mafias have got control of some parts of the city, especially its outskirts, while land and tanker mafia are also witnessed active. There exists a constitutional government but its authority has been eroded, he said.

Outlining the reasons of Karachi unrest, he stated that problems of Karachi were generally a result of ethnic, sectarian and political enmity while during the last three decades governance and political institutions failed to deliver. They have failed to provide the requisite infrastructure to meet the needs of the rising population of the city. It had a negative effect on the country’s economy in addition to a rapid expansion of slum areas in Karachi. The institutional vacuum has been filled by the criminals, and ethnic and sectarian groups.

Karachi’s problems also multiplied due to bad choices made by the key players but the wrongs of the past could be corrected now, said the corps commander . He said the first thing to do is to get the city free of the clutches of criminals and terrorists for which it was necessary to continue the federal and provincial plan of action. Lt-Gen Naveed Mukthar vowed that LEAs will not leave any terrorist, extortionist or kidnapper to destroy the peace of city.

“Keeping peace in Karachi is our responsibility and we will root out terrorism from here soon,” Lt-Gen Naveed Mukthar said. “We have been given the mandate for the action against elements responsible for the unrest in Karachi, we are after terrorists, we are after target killers, we are after kidnappers and extortionists,” he said, adding that ongoing targeted operation is totally across the board and they were trying their best to achieve the goals while remaining within the confines of the law.

Significant reduction in acts of terrorism, extortion, target killing and other crimes has been witnessed in the city since the launch of the operation, said the corps commander , adding that during the last two months, operation has been conducted against TTP, al-Qaeda, Lyari gangsters, sectarian killers and political criminals. The LEAs action has improved the law and order situation, providing relief to the general public, he claimed.

But the army officer said the targeted operation was the first step, and it has to be followed by a cleansing in political and administrative structures for a lasting peace and prosperity. He said merit should be strictly observed in the appointments, and it was a must to liberate police and civil administration of undue political influence and interference. He said that for a lasting end to terrorism, it was necessary to tackle the white collar criminals who provide vital assistance to the terrorists and non-state militant structures.

Whereas he noted betterment in security situation of the city, the corps commander said the graph of success has been fluctuating due to some political and social expediencies and compulsions, patronage of extremism, and political, sectarian, cultural and ethnic contradictions.

Speaking on the occasion, PPP leader Sherry Rehman said that peace in Karachi is linked with the prosperity of Pakistan and no compromises should be made on the restoration of peace in the city. She said that LEAs play an important role in maintaining law and order in the city. It’s not the government alone but all the institutions play their role in building a healthy and peaceful society.