THERE can be no disagreement with the fact that Karachi is awash with all sorts of arms. However, it is fair to ask how practical a mass deweaponisation drive will be in the metropolis, in light of the chief justice’s call for such an exercise during the Supreme Court’s proceedings on Thursday and Friday. Such drives have been carried out in the past, and if the rampant killings in Karachi are anything to go by they have failed to deliver.

The city’s problems are complex, and sweeping actions such as calling in the army or cracking down on illegal weapons by imposing a curfew will not create lasting peace. However, an important aspect that can be addressed is the demoralisation of the police that especially stems from the lack of progress in apprehending the killers of the men in uniform. If police personnel today are hesitant to take action against militants when they see what has become of their predecessors, can they be blamed? Hence, it is a welcome step that the Sindh police have decided to reopen the cases of policemen murdered as a result of their involvement in the operations of the 1990s — in fact, they should not have been closed in the first place. The move was given impetus after the court highlighted the killing of policemen on Thursday.

Over 150 men in uniform involved in the operations of 1992 and 1996 have been gunned down over the years. In fact, militants have zeroed in on anyone they see as a threat. For example, at least five eyewitnesses, including two policemen, in the murder case of journalist Wali Khan Babar have been systematically eliminated. In this regard Sindh’s recent passage of the Witness Protection Act 2013 is a positive move. Witnesses, prosecutors and judges, as well as policemen, all need protection if militancy is to be controlled in Karachi.

Hence, if the current ‘operation’ is to succeed, the police’s morale needs to be boosted substantially. Along with providing training and life-saving equipment, the law enforcers must be assured by the state that if they go after criminals and militants, they will not be abandoned once the operation winds up. And one of the strongest messages the state can send in this regard is to bring the killers of policemen — whether those who fell in the 1990s or later — to justice, to show that the men’s sacrifices were not in vain, and to let militants know that their impunity will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

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Comments (2)

Asif Ali
September 21, 2013 10:29 am

First, justice should be given to the families of those shaheeds who were martyrd in 1990,92,96 and later on. After this, the soldiers should be deployed for any other operation otherwise with the end of operation all will be killed as whatever happened in the past. There is also the possibility that some policemen may attach themselves with the gangesters to save their lives and act as informer of militants.

Now it is upto government....... My people and soldiers always under the shade of Almighty

IBN-E-ASHFAQUE
September 21, 2013 4:44 pm

All this operation will improve the law and order in the short term only, as it also happened earlier. The city needs to be governed by genuine representatives of the city. Governance structures that includes karachi police, city courts and land registration records needs to be updated. The city is now in the grip of religious mafias, political mafias, transport mafias, so on and so forth. The city cannot be enslaved. Its citizens cannot be disenfranchised and abused by the use of force. What karachi needs is justice that is done and being seen to be done. It is too much to expect that NS can do this? However, even if he provides justice by 50% karachi alongwith Pakistan may recover. Although personally I feel sceptical as the government does not think the failiure of governance is causing the law and order situation. In fact, it appears the government considers that the use of force can solve the problem in karachi. While they need to do dialogue with the taliban. What a contradiction?

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