Doors bolted shut, all kinds of businesses and trade closed, and an entire populace living in fear: welcome to Karachi’s Orangi town. In a new wave of ethnic violence, some seven people have been killed as tensions escalate and life comes to a standstill once again in the economic hub of Pakistan. The city, especially the Orangi locality, wakes up to indiscriminate firing by criminal elements and bullet-riddled bodies left abandoned out in the open as macabre reminders that all is not well with the country’s most important city.While Karachi is bled dry, it seems as though the political parties are up to their old tricks. When Karachi’s situation was discussed in the National Assembly, the MQM staged a walkout to protest against the target killings. Afterwards, a meeting was called by the governor Sindh with the MQM and ANP. The usual rhetoric was on display with both parties saying criminal elements would not be supported and that they would be tackled with an iron hand. How many times have we heard this before? How many more dead people do we need in Karachi to change mere words into actions?
Many a time when tensions mount in Karachi, the Rangers are summoned to handle the law and order situation. We have all seen the wisdom of handing over security responsibilities to the Rangers. When police duties are given to a paramilitary force, incidents like the one in Kharotabad, where five unarmed Chechens were gunned down, become routine. No one needs to go into the details of Sarfraz Shah’s gruesome death as the video of his murder by the Rangers is there for all to see. The brutality of the Rangers has not gone unnoticed and giving them charge now of the security of an entire city that mistrusts them will only backfire further.
It is time to truly empower the police. It must be given a chance to bloom into the citizen serving institution it was always meant to be. The only way that can be done is by making the police force free of political or other influence. They must be allowed to do their work without fear or favour. Intelligent policing is necessary to quell the tempest in Karachi. It is high time to fix this. – Dailytimes