While research on political violence often focuses on its outcome, there is little attention to the process of political violence. Filling the knowledge gap, the present research applies the theory of instrumentalism to understand political violence as a means to achieve certain political ends. The research is a qualitative case study on Lyari, which was a comparatively peaceful neighborhood in Karachi but transformed into a violent no-go area during 2000s. The paper describes the process of instrumentalization of political violence in Lyari with the objective of outlining the relationship of three key actors – political parties, state authorities, and criminal gangs – using violence for their respective interests. The paper explains how the convergence of their interests influenced the intensity of political violence and converted it into an ethnic conflict. Hence, it expands the literature on political violence by outlining the complexities of the real world where multiple political actors simultaneously use violence to achieve varied objectives that sometimes compliment and sometimes clashes with each other, resulting in further extension of violence.
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