By Syed Moazzam Hashmi
ISLAMABAD, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani dashed to Karachi on Friday on a two day trip to broker a truce with conflicting political parties, as death toll in riots soared to 90 and 15 million residents are still frightened due to uncertain law and order situation in the southern port city.
Reviewing the deteriorated law and order situation in the commercial hub of the country, Gilani would hold separate meetings with all political parties in an attempt to broker a truce between the conflicting coalition partners, official sources said on Friday.
Since the outbreak of violence following the assassination of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) legislator Raza Haider on Monday in Karachi, some 90 people have been killed, approximately killing one person every passing half an hour, and over 200 wounded and more than 100 vehicles have been torched. Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimated that there was over 10 billion rupees loss to public and private properties and closer of business in the past few days.
Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik sprinted to Karachi a week ago and had broker a deal that did not last long between ethnic Urdu language speaker Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and ethnic Pashtu speaker Awami National Party (ANP). However, things went out of hands as both parties continued with the blame game and settling scores.
Still counting faith in the so far unsuccessful an iron hand approach to plug issues that are deep rooted in economic and political ambitions of major players on the complicated political checkered board, Malik has ordered rangers to shoot-at-sight miscreants, reiterating the common knowledge that "Terrorists want to destroy peace in Karachi."
However, keeping in view the two decades history of Rangers presence in Karachi, analysts fear that it might result in more innocent casualties, as they had been accused of taking political sides, highhandedness and extortion during their "temporary" assignment in Karachi since June 1990.
Thinking a step ahead, the interior minister also hinted at the possibility of calling in the military to smoothen the failing law and order in Karachi. The Pakistan Army is currently engaged on two essential fronts of fighting a homegrown insurgency in the rugged northwest tribal areas bordering Afghanistan as part of war against terror, and diligently involved in relief and rescue operation across the high-level floods and heavy rains plagued country.