Dawn News

Climate of fear

NOT that it has been addressed in the way it needs to be, but at least politically motivated and high-level organised crime in Karachi is reported. What go unmentioned are the day-to-day muggings that have now claimed so many victims among us. Most Karachi residents are able to name several friends and relatives who have had their belongings stolen at gunpoint, so they consider it only a matter of time before they too are targeted. And they know they won’t be able to resist in the face of armed robbers, especially while stopping at traffic lights or getting stuck in traffic jams. They are sitting ducks when thieves tap on their windows with their guns, even in broad daylight. Nor is there justice to be had after the event; police are either unable to track down perpetrators or are reluctant to record the crimes for fear of worsening the criminal record in their jurisdictions. And citizens are more than happy not to register complaints, not wanting to get involved in investigations that they do not believe will deliver justice.

Together these factors have created a climate of fear that haunts all residents of Karachi, who have had to adapt to this fact of life in any number of ways. From carrying decoy cellphones and avoiding carrying cash to thinking twice about venturing out after dark and having to avoid certain roads and areas, they have developed new, more constrained lives in response to a threat that seems inescapable. Most frustrating is the knowledge that nothing much will change until there is a transformation in larger social realities, such as the availability of weapons in the city or unemployment. And that is nowhere on the horizon.

Comments (10) Closed

Gerry D'Cunha
Sep 04, 2012 02:24pm
Blazer: I agree with you - pakistan of today has no future - pakistan is leading to stone age period - sorry for the people who are staying there and have no hope.
Gerry D'Cunha
Sep 04, 2012 09:19am
when you have criminals recruited in police department, what do you expect?. Look at the police in the western country, how polite and well mannerism compaired to police in pakistan and their attitudes.When will we have a decent pakistan like the west?
Akhter Husain
Sep 04, 2012 09:03am
Which country is free from crimes or criminals.Why do not you look around your own country?We are ,no doubt,passing through a very bad phase ,but it will not persist longer.We will over come it in any case.
Sep 04, 2012 09:14am
It's the same here in Lahore and other big cities. We're often reminded by our families that it may only be a matter of time when we are confronted with such a situation and the best way to deal with it is to comply right away and not make the mistake of reporting to the police. Such is the way of life in Pakistan.
Sep 04, 2012 03:33am
Land of the Pure...lawlessness?
Sep 04, 2012 04:13am
Its the reality. Verty true.
M. Asghar
Sep 04, 2012 07:46am
One has to has to ask as to why this total lawlessness is making the citizens' life un bearable. The answer is simple: most of it is politically motivated and executed by gangs under political protection as pointed out by the Apex Court.
Iftikhar Husain
Sep 04, 2012 11:00am
I watched a documentary by Ross Kemp on sky TV about Karachi gang war where he went to meet the gang war leader in Lyari it terrible to watch the killings in Karachi. There are no go areas where law enforcers can not enter. It is horrible to know that this is happening in Karachi.
Sep 04, 2012 01:16pm
No you wont you had sixty years and your worse off now then you were at the inception of your country. You can try and deflect the criticism because it offends your pakistani pride but the truth is that all pakistanis are responsible for the state of their country, but instead they follow the road of ultra religisousity, claim fouls at the mistreatment of muslims yet remain silence on numerous occasions when ethnic minorities are horrifically treated within your borders. We may have crime in the UK, but we have a significantly more tolerant society then in backwards pakistan. Your not a modern educated country, Pakistan is just a step away from Afghanistan. Unless you educate your population properly rather then using hate filled textbooks you might just get somewhere but your not so you wont. Live with the fact that majority of people in the world now believe that Pakistan is a failed state. You cant educate your masses properly, you cannot protect the lives of your citizens. Your army is in cahoots with the terrorists. Keep it up and soon the world will not care about your country and then you will have far more severe internal problems when you all start fighting amongst each other. I hold no hope for your country.
Sep 04, 2012 01:14pm
Nicely said "Land of pure = lawlessness. Here no none is secure. The karachitiis, who, once wer most developed and lived in harmonous society, have become helpless and terrified! It is very sad situation that karachi has turned into a battlefield of an endlees future. Target killings, looting and plundering mafia gangs, street crimes, ethnicentrism, lawlessness, etc are order of the day in karachi. This entire credit of deteriorating the situation of karachi goes to our top brass and benign rulers.