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WikiLeaks: Karachi gangs outnumber police

A 2009 WikiLeaks cable released yesterday adds new context to the discussion following last weekend’s assault on a Pakistani naval base in Karachi. The Cable, signed by Consul General Stephen Fakan, surveys the threat posed by the city’s armed political gangs:  The police in Karachi are only one of several armed groups in the city, ...

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A 2009 WikiLeaks cable released yesterday adds new context to the discussion following last weekend’s assault on a Pakistani naval base in Karachi. The Cable, signed by Consul General Stephen Fakan, surveys the threat posed by the city’s armed political gangs: 

The police in Karachi are only one of several armed groups in the city, and they are probably not the most numerous or best equipped. Many neighborhoods are considered by the police to be no-go zones in which even the intelligence services have a difficult time operating. Very few of the groups are traditional criminal gangs. Most are associated with a political party, a social movement, or terrorist activity, and their presence in the volatile ethnic mix of the world,s fourth largest city creates enormous political and governance challenges.

The cable surveys armed groups associated with the  Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami National Party, Muhajir Qaumi Movement (H), and Sunni Tehreek (ST). Interestingly, it argues that because of the deterioration of the rest of Pakistan, Karachi has become something of an "island of stability" but warns that the city "still has a number of well-armed political and religious factions and the potential to explode into violent ethnic and religious conflict given the wrong circumstances."

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