Something unusual happened around this time last year. A 25-year-old Pakistan Army soldier, Tariq Yunus, was kidnapped from Karachi’s Saddar area where he was shopping and was shot dead later. The police called his abduction and murder a “reaction to the killing” of a suspected Lyari gangster in an “encounter” — or a shootout. “First such incident in recent times,” proclaimed a police press release issued on September 15, 2014.
It is not known if and how Yunus was linked to the “encounter” in which one Faraz, alias Chota Pathan, had died on September 11 last year. Yunus was certainly not among the officials involved in the reported shootout. At the time of the incident, he was not even posted in Karachi and was part of an army unit stationed in Hyderabad. As the police press release suggests, his assassination was a response to the role the Sindh Rangers and the army’s senior leadership have been playing in tackling law and order problems in Karachi — an eye for an eye, a murder for a murder, seems to be the message that the incident is conveying.
Though similar attacks on army officials or rangers men are not reported to have occurred again over the last 12 months or so, there have been multiple attacks on police officials in the same period. In August 2015 alone, six policemen were killed in Karachi in what looked like incidents of targeted shooting. Mostly, if not entirely, these shootings are meant to avenge law enforcement operations in which people are rounded up and detained on an almost daily basis.
This is an excerpt from Herald's October 2015 cover story. To read more, subscribe to Herald in print.