HRCP Report: 45% increase in violence related deaths

Pakistan on 16 July 2013
Location : Karachi, Pakistan | Source : Daily Times. Image Source: Daily Times

KARACHI: Ethnic, sectarian and politically-linked violence has taken 1,726 lives in Karachi from January to June 2013, which is around 45 percent higher compared to 1,215 deaths during the same period in 2012.

This was stated in a detailed report issued by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Monday.

The data, collected from newspapers and compiled by HRCP, expressed grave concern over the issue. The report further disclosed that those killed include victims of sectarian violence, targeted killings, as well as those whose dead bodies were found in different parts of the city.

Over the same period last year, based on media reports, HRCP had counted the killing of 1,215 citizens in Karachi violence. HRCP noted that in each of the six months in 2013, the killings were much higher than the corresponding period last year.

As many as 291 people were killed in January 2013, compared to 153 in January 2012 - 271 in February compared to 149 in February 2012 - 311 in March 2013 and 182 in March 2012 - 262 in April this year and 258 in April 2012 - 278 in May this year compared to 244 in May last year and 313 was the death toll in June 2013 compared to 229 in June 2012.

Though the number of fatalities in violence was by no means small in the previous year, in 2013 the number never dipped below 250 in any month from January to June 2013. In 2012, in only three months-April, May and June- the number of citizens killed was over 200. For the first six months of 2012, the number of people losing their lives in violence was highest in June at 258 persons. Over the six-month period in 2013, as many as 73 people were killed in attacks deemed to have sectarian motives; 203 people were killed after being abducted; 545 people, who did not have any overt political affiliations, were killed in attacks; and 178 political activists (48 in June alone) were killed. The fatalities also included 92 policemen and 18 personnel of paramilitary forces. Dead bodies of 101 people were found in the city during the period under review. Bomb blasts claimed 92 lives and Lyari gang war another 41. Robbers killed at least 49 people, and another 57 died in police encounters.

HRCP stated that despite the high number of people killed in the port city month after month, curbing violence and the consequent killings did not appear to be a priority for the authorities. It said that the inability or unwillingness to improve law and order, and the failure to apprehend the killers and bring them to justice was as callous as it was inexplicable. HRCP expressed concern that the fatalities were increasingly being seen as mere statistics rather than loss of human beings, which reflected a failure of the state to protect human life. The impact that the killings had on the families of the victims and society at large was not being given the attention that it deserved, the Commission added.

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