Violence in Karachi

Tyres are set alight at a rally in Karachi, 12 January.
Tyres are set alight at a rally in Karachi, 12 January.

Karachi is well used to violence, but 2012 was one of it’s bloodiest years ever, with 2,000 people dying in political and ethnic violence in the city. My long feature for the Independent on a bloody year for Pakistan’s biggest city (and my home for much of last year), has just been published. You can read the full piece here.

On a hot Karachi day in October, Amina’s husband Khaled went to work and didn’t come back. Two days later, she was identifying his body in a morgue.

He had been shot in the head on his journey home from the factory where he worked. “He was killed because we are Pashtun-speaking people and they don’t want us here,” she says, sitting in the house where she lives with three children she must now support alone. Visibly uncomfortable, she will not name the “they” who she holds responsible.

Like many others, Khaled’s death has not been investigated and no-one has been arrested or charged with his murder. In a city where people die every day in targeted killings, his is simply another name on the list. The impoverished area where Amina lives is inhabited mainly by members of the Pashtun ethnic group, who have moved in large numbers to Karachi from northern Pakistan.


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