The politics of reconciliation has proved to be a total disaster for the residents of Karachi as over 6000 people have lost their lives in political and ethnic killings since the PPP led government came into power. It is the responsibility of the government to guarantee the security of life and property of its people but the Government of Sindh has totally failed to fulfill their constitutional obligation. People within the government justify that had it not been for the reconciliation policy of the ruling coalition, these numbers would had been considerably more, a ridiculous statement revealing the incompetence and inability of the ruling PPP-MQM-ANP coalition to restore peace within the city.
There is hardly any crime that is not prevalent in Karachi. Extortion, kidnapping for ransom, dacoities, thefts, sectarian and ethnic killings, land grabbing, bomb blasts and what not, all sort of crimes are rampant in Karachi today. Turf wars and getting hold of major share of the extortion are the bone of contention between political parties resulting in violence in the city.
Brain drain and flight of capital is taking place at a rapid pace in Karachi due to the extremely grave law and order situation of the city. Those having the resources to move out of country and city are doing so. The metropolis is the economic hub of Pakistan, yet no one is willing to put an end to the killings in Karachi, the jugular vein of our country.
Scores of workers of various political parties are being killed on a daily basis. With elections round the corner and most parties having their militant wings, elections in Karachi can be a bloody affair. The police force is incompetent and politicized hence they cannot deliver but why has the ranger’s which has been stationed in Karachi for over two decades failed to perform? The military also has turned a blind eye over the state of affairs in Karachi which again is quite appalling and incomprehensible .There is no point of investing a sizeable chunk of the budget on defence if the life and property of citizens is not safeguarded.
The media too keeps a mum when it comes to the law and order situation in Karachi and has failed to expose those involved for the unrest in the city. Even the suo motu action by the chief justice last year on Karachi killings did not yield the desired results as the perpetrators were neither identified nor brought to justice. If an elected prime minister can be shown the door for not writing a letter, then some heads must roll for the innocent lives lost in Karachi.
Steps to improve Karachi’s law and order situation
• Firstly and most importantly there must be a political will to call spade a spade and deal the perpetrators with an iron fist regardless of their political affiliations and the repercussions that may rise after nabbing such criminals. Criminals involved in extortion, land grabbing, target killings etc seek refuge in political parties and sometimes even patronized by political parties for their ulterior motives. Therefore a loud and clear message has to be disseminated that the government shall have a zero-tolerance policy vis-à-vis crime.
• Pakistan is no short of upright, honest, competent and dedicated police officers. The problem lies in interfering and meddling in affairs of the police department for vested interests. If a free hand with total political backing is given to the police, I am quite positive that the situation can improve considerably.
• Use of latest technology can help, for instance CCTV camera’s is a cost-effective method for crime prevention and detection. The entire city should be monitored 24/7 and government can generate funds for the commissioning of camera’s through public-private partnership.The civil society will definitely contribute their share provided the government has the will to improve the city’s state of affairs.
• Effective use of mobile phone locators can help track and hunt down the criminals. Since witnesses remain reluctant to come forward because of fear the witness protection program must ensure providing fool proof security to the witnesses. Through effective and efficient investigation and prosecution, conviction rate has to improve.
• Ulema of all sects have to be taken on-board so as to maintain religious harmony and banned organizations must not be allowed to operate. The influx of immigrants in the metropolis should be monitored and registered.
• An across the board city wide, de-weaponization drive to be conducted & the city must be purged of all weapons, both licensed and otherwise. Smuggling of weapons into the city via land or sea must be prevented so as to curb the violence within the city.
I hope and pray that the city once known as the uroosul bilaad (Bride of the cities) and roshnion ka shehr (the city of lights) regains its lost peace and prosperity.Ameen.