13 June, 2021

Most Favoured Status

Attacking an economic hub gives terrorists more than a death toll

Most Favoured Status
Once Karachi bustled with night clubs and bars and a bohemian lifestyle. Secularism was its ethos, the gun only the cops' possession. Then, in 1977, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto banned the sale of liquor to counter an alliance of religious parties. His successor Zia-ul-Haq introduced archaic Islamic laws and Karachi began to fizz out like flat champagne.

Fundamentalism became the new high, intolerance the new ethos. There were years of bloody strife between the Mohajirs and the Punjabis and Sindhis. Then Mohajirs split into factions with even bloodier consequences. On the sidelines, the Sunnis and Shias were (or are) locked in a macabre death dance. The '80s and '90s were Karachi's decades of nightmares: an estimated 7,000 people were killed.

Last week it was a suicide-bomber who came calling at the US consulate. Before him, someone had detonated a car bomb to kill 11 Frenchmen. Sure Pakistan is paying the price for joining the war against terror. But why have they chosen Karachi to wreak their vengeance on the Americans, given that most militant outfits belong to...

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