Police guarding a mosque in Karachi
Christians used to living amid heightened tensions for years, are offering daily prayers for calm after an upsurge in targeted killings in Karachi in recent days.
“The government seems to have little interest in dealing with clashes and solving disputes among rival parties. Everybody is affected by fear and violence,” said Father Saleh Diego, diocesan director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace.
“Churches are trying to give them solace with daily prayers for peace,” said Father Diego added.
More than 30 people have been murdered in the last three days in target killings. Eight political workers from rival parties were killed yesterday as gunshots echoed in different areas around the city. Armed men occupied several buildings while others looted a few.
Saima Mushtaq, a Caritas field worker, said she had to find alternative routes several times yesterday to pick up her son and take him home after tuition class.
“I was terrified when news channels announced Saddar Market was under siege. Several roads were blocked but we reached home safely,” she said.
Dominic Gill, executive secretary of Caritas Pakistan Karachi, says his staff is risking their lives just by trying to reach the office.
“Markets remain closed and roads are blocked due to ongoing violence between political parties. The quest for dominance has destroyed what was once a serene city,” he said adding the violence is also affecting rehabilitation work for victims of last year’s devastating flood.
Zohra Yusuf chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slammed the government’s failure to restore law and order in a statement yesterday.
“It is scandalous that the alarm and indignation that such a heavy toll on human life should evoke is absent. Violence that used to occur in the financial capital once or twice a year has now become the norm. It is appalling the perpetrators remain unidentified and unpunished,” the statement said.
Christians condemn Karachi killings