The Other Taliban

Pakistan Army Soldiers direct commercial vehicles through a check point near the southern city of Karachi. Thousands of lawless Taliban militants create daily chaos for the millions of residents who endure remarkably open corruption.

If Talibanisation stands for militancy, weapons, lawlessness and uncivilized behavior, the Pakistan Army may as well forget the Waziristan operation and begin its mission from home – the DHA and Clifton areas of Karachi.

To even the casual observer on the ground, these areas are now firmly in control of urban Taliban who roam the streets in heavy vehicles which are invariably official, stolen, smuggled or foreign registered. They often travel in a convoy with dozens of prohibited bore weapon and other armaments, while violating all traffic rules. They hit, push, beat or even kidnap anyone who questions this lawless behavior.

While the illegal detention of a prominent city architect and scuffle with a PAF officer have been reported in the media, there are hundreds of similar incidents that go unreported. The citizens of Karachi may not have any immediate fears from the Taliban of Waziristan, but they are already under a state of siege by the lawless militant ministers, parliamentarians and powerful members of the state.

Many streets in DHA and Clifton have been partly barricaded to provide security to highly-guarded politicians. While the desperate and starving commit suicide, the state spends billions on protecting the individuals that need the least protection. The police who never fail to harangue a poor person on a motorcycle will never notice the thousands of foreign registered, fake license plate, or no number plate Sindh Government vehicles being used by the Taliban. The government is itself widely considered a party to the lawlessness by not cracking down on these criminals and fake degree holders that behave like VIPs by creating discriminatory “Parliamentarian” counters for them at the airports.

Most Pakistanis feel that the sensible action is to pursue the DHA and Clifton authorities for failing to check the blocking of streets, pitching of tents, and the presence of thousands of armed militants. Unless the Pakistan Army is able to fundamentally reshape the power structure, the people of southern Pakistan will continue to be victimized by the other Taliban.

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