The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Thursday decided that no military operation would be carried out in the Karachi city to control the recent spate of violence, after Online news service reported earlier in the day that the president and the prime minister had decided in principle to give a green signal to a selective offensive in Karachi to control the spiraling violence that has so far killed over 100 people.
Online quoted sources as saying that the two leaders had agreed to conduct a “grand operation” against anti-state elements disrupting the city’s peace. “Before the operation’s launch, all political parties will be taken on board,” Online sources had said. Later on Thursday, the PPP began mediation efforts to sort out differences with the MQM and the ANP following President Asif Ali Zardari’s directives.
Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza first met ANP Sindh President Shahi Syed. Mirza told reporters after the meeting that the ANP had agreed to cooperate to maintain peace in the city. Dr Mirza said he would now meet Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad to iron out differences.
Syed said his party wanted peace and stability in Karachi. “I have informed the home minister about my party’s grievances and hope they will be addressed,” he said. Rejecting media reports about a possible army operation in Karachi, the home minister said nothing of the sort would be done without his consent.
“However, action against criminals will continue,” he added. The home minister also ruled out an operation in Lyari, a PPP stronghold. “I will not allow any wrong step to be taken,” he remarked.
Later, Interior Minister Rehman Malik met Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, the home minister and other PPP leaders at the Chief Minister’s House to take up the issues pertaining to the city’s situation.
Malik, Qaim Ali Shah and Mirza then headed to the Governor’s House to meet the Sindh governor, who was accompanied by MQM leaders Dr Farooq Sattar, Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Babar Ghauri and Sindh Information Technology Minister Raza Haroon.
The leaders decided that no military operation would be carried out in Karachi, but indiscriminate targeted offensives would be conducted against the land, drug, extortion and weapons mafia operating in the provincial capital.
The leaders also decided to continue President Zardari and MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s policy of reconciliation to maintain peace in the city. Meanwhile, another six people were gunned down in Karachi on Thursday.