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In Pakistan, target killings have been a rising form of violence and have contributed to security instability in the country. They have become common and have gained attention especially in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and economic capital. Police and law enforcement agencies have sometimes come under criticism for their ineffectiveness in locating the perpetrators and their motives. For most of the part, target killings in Karachi have been attributed to political, religious and ethnic reasons. Karachi is a cosmopolitan city and consists of many ethnic communities; the city’s demographics play an important role in its politics.

Ethnic politics have resulted in sporadic violence throughout Karachi’s history, often leading to bloody conflicts. Following the Partition of India and the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Muslim immigrants from areas constituting modern-day India migrated in large numbers to the newly-created Muslim nation of Pakistan and became settled in Karachi, the historical capital of the Sindh province. These migrants had educated, middle-class to upper class backgrounds and came from cultured families; they came to be known as Muhajir people (Muhajir meaning “immigrant”).

They dominated much of Karachi’s businesses, something which was resented by a portion of the province’s native Sindhi people and radical Sindhi nationalists. After the breakaway of East Pakistan in 1971 and the formation of Bangladesh, Pakistan accepted a large number of Biharis (known as “Stranded Pakistanis”) loyal to the country, trapped in Bangladesh and offered them citizenship. The Bihari migrants assimilated into the diverse Urdu-speaking Muhajir population. Some Bengalis in Pakistan also stayed behind.

Karachi’s status as a regional industrial centre attracted migrants from other parts of Pakistan as well, including Punjab, Balochistan andPashtun migrants from the frontier regions. Added to this were Iranians, Arabs, Central Asians as well as thousands of Afghan refugees who came to Karachi, initially displaced by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; some of the Afghan and Pashtun migration brought along conservative tribal culture, further intensifying ethnic and sectarian violence and also giving rise to mob culture.

Shias the main victims in Pakistan, Shia community is the main victim of targeted killings. During the last dice years more than 3000 top Shia leaders, intellectuals, doctors and professionals have been gunned down. The terrorists who operate against Shias are mostly the religious leaders of the majority Sunni faction. In one incident, sn imam of a sunni mosque proudly confesed in the court killing of more an 30 Shias. In his view, God will reward him for killing of these inocent people, a belief inserted by Saudi backed wahabi Muslims in the Sunni doctrine.

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