“Living in this city, you developed a certain relationship with violence and news of violence: you expected it, dreaded it, and then

when it happened, you worked hard to look away from it, because there was nothing you could do about it - not even grieve, because you knew that it would happen again and maybe in a way that was worse than before. Grieving is possible only when you know you have come to an end, when there is nothing more to follow. This city was full of bottled-up grief.”

–Bilal Tanweer, The Scatter Here is too Great, 2014.

Over the last three decades we have seen Karachi engulfed by chaotic law and order situation which has its roots in the early 1980s when General Zia-ul-Haq promoted the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) under Altaf Hussain’s leadership to counter the political influence of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in Sindh.

The city has been consumed in flames many times, with violence becoming a norm. From that year onwards and the subsequent government of the PPP under a democratic process failed to stop the violence from increasing despite having all major political entities of the city such as the MQM and ANP on-board as partners. The bubble of violence in Karachi burst during the years 2011 and 2012 as targeted killings were rapidly on the rise leading. ‘Sector commanders’ of political parties’ militant wings and extremist religious entities were deployed in every major area of the city and territories were held hostage in name of ethnic nationalism in areas such as Lyari, where police operations failed to curb militancy. It is not far from the truth, when despite the current operation in Sindh, being deemed as a success, the city is still grieving.