Karachi witnessed decrease in terrorism incidents in 2019.


Byline: Imtiaz Ali

KARACHI -- Though there has been significant reduction in the number of terrorism incidents in Karachi during 2019, the city has witnessed some horrific incidents in the outgoing year.

The attack on prominent religious scholar Muhammad Taqi Usmani at the NIPA roundabout, murder of a doctor in a suspected sectarian attack in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, a bomb attack in Quaidabad and kidnapping of two girls in Defence Housing Authority are considered some of the worrying developments in the city in 2019.

It is also worrying that elements involved in almost all of these organised crimes have not been brought to justice so far, raising question marks over the performance of the city's law enforcement agencies.

On March 22, Mufti Usmani and members of his family survived an attack when several gunmen on motorcycles opened indiscriminate fire on their two cars. Mufti Usmani's police guard and two aides were killed in the attack.

A senior police officer who wished not to be named said that presumably there was a 'foreign factor' behind the attack. He, however, admitted that no concrete evidence emerged to this effect. The case was transferred to the police's counter-terrorism department which had got 'some clues' and were working on it. But so far no one has been arrested in the case.

The former chief of Karachi police, Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh, had stated that the motive appeared to be bigger than sectarianism or terrorism as Mufti Usmani was a 'towering personality' who commanded respect across the country and the attackers wanted to create chaos in Karachi and the country as well.

Mufti Usmani is a very famous and widely respected religious scholar not only in Pakistan, but also in many other countries. In his new book Islam in Pakistan: a history, Princeton University professor Muhammad Qasim Zaman writes that Mufti Usmani is considered among 'the most prolific of ulama anywhere in the Muslim world today'.

The author has cited several reasons for it. One of the reasons is Mufti Usmani has 'a long history of association with the government'. Rulers tended to seek his help on some sensitive issues, but there were at least two occasions namely 'Protection of Women Act and the Lal Masjid episode,' when he and his elder brother, Mufti Rafi Usmani made adverse remarks against the rulers.

Taqi Usmani has served as a judge of the Federal Shariah Court. He also remained a member of the Shariah appellate bench of the Supreme Court for 17 years, but...

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