Little breathing space


More than 252 people shot dead in broad daylight because their lives paled in value to a mobile phone. At least a thousand others, wounded. This is Karachi, often referred to as Pakistan’s commercial capital, but a city that has earned the unfortunate reputation of being Pakistan’s crime capital.
The metropolitan’s glaring lack of safety has, for the umpteenth time, made its way back into the limelight in the wake of a distressing report unveiled during a security briefing. With a directive from the Sindh High Court, urgent distress calls sent by human rights organisations and a criticism-laced “charge sheet” presented by MQM-P, there’s little breathing space available to both the government and its law enforcement agencies.
The violent games cannot be allowed to continue any longer where sheer lawlessness enables roadside dacoits to open fire without batting an eyelid because they know they can get away with everything. In the past, such heart-wrenching downslides have repeatedly caused bad blood between the centre and Sindh where the latter views any intervention with a sceptical eye. Even today, as it plays down the furore from political quarters and shows complete trust in the abilities of Sindh Police, the executive would be better off taking a quick look at the public approval ratings. That years of unsuccessful shots in the dark are to blame for citizens losing confidence in law enforcers and starting to resist robbers is an open secret.
But while calling in the paramilitary forces appears the easiest way out of the abyss, sooner or later, Karachi would have to improve its policing. Regardless of the challenges, those heading the world’s 12th-largest city would have to cough up a revolutionary, effective line of action to spell the proverbial end to these horrors. Whether this be done through procurement of sophisticated weaponry from Turkey, ensuring functional supervision of the city through Safe City’s bird-eye view or going down the old but not-so-favourite route of shattering the perpetuating nexus between politicians, police and criminals, Sindh Police needs to clean up its act as soon as possible.