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According to news reports, the police was nowhere to be seen for at least an hour after Sunday’s blast which killed 48 people in Karachi’s Abbas Town area.

Citizens in the area started sifting through the rubble themselves, and carrying out rescue operations without the aid of law enforcement agencies.

Soon enough, television channels started reporting that the reason behind this was Sharmila Farooqi’s engagement celebration dinner which was taking place at Mohatta palace, in the metropolis’ posh Old Clifton area.

Outraged anchors said that prominent politicians, including the chief minister and the prime minister, were busy enjoying themselves at a high-profile celebration while in another section of the city, tragedy had struck. People also expressed shock and anger on various social media forums.

The connection between the two incidents, however, remains to be investigated. In a population of around 17 million, surely it must be an exaggeration that the entire police force were deployed to take care of jittery VIPs at a ceremony? Sharmila herself  has already issued a clarification on Twitter.

Or is the balance of power so grossly skewed that Pakistan’s biggest politicians felt it necessary to use up over half of the city’s police personnel for its protection?

The reporting itself of the incident raises pertinent questions. Within an hour of the blast, TV channels reported that law enforcement personnel were deployed at Mohatta palace at the cost of security arrangement in Abbas Town. Little evidence, however, was provided of this – no statement from the IG police, for example.

However, even if the Sharmila Farooqi connection is tenuous, eye witness accounts indicate, significantly, that police officials were in fact missing from the scene for quite a while.

Even if it wasn’t because of Sharmila, this is a cause for serious concern.

The questions are still open: Was the police absence a result of heavy protection at the young politician’s engagement celebration dinner? If not, was the media unethical in reporting something irresponsibly or inaccurately at a moment when emotions were running high? Should politicians come forward to at least clarify what actually happened? And is debate on her engagement relevant when there are larger questions of who is to be held accountable for the scores of lives lost?

Comments (77) Closed

YS Mar 04, 2013 08:21pm
agree with you completely
shabut Mar 04, 2013 07:54pm
On top of that the sickening comments keep coming from this idiot called "Rehman Malik" who wants to politicize an divide people by using the deaths of these innocent people. It is so disgusting when he tries to give this menace "terrorism" a provincial color. Someone should ask this guy that you are the interior minister of the whole country so it is your responsibility to make things work. I want to say so many words for this loser but the ethics of this forum don't allow that.
B R Singh Mar 05, 2013 02:16am
Hard to believe that Karachi doesn't have enough policemen to provide security at a prominent wedding and carry out its normal tasks at the same time.
Nadir Mar 04, 2013 04:24pm
Counting days ,10 more days of this govt, seems more like 10 years .
Shahid Yusuf Mar 04, 2013 08:22pm
I think our government is so scared of LEJ. That they do not want to mess around and interupt their mission because they are worried of their own comfort and convienient. Just remember it says in Quran "Zalim will always be coward". Our leaders do not have _______ to wipe LEJ out.
Thoughtful Mar 05, 2013 12:19am
I fully agree with you. Just a glance on this crook's face indicates that the man (Rahman Malik) is not only unintelligent but a very sick man to his core. He is not fit even for a sweeper's job let alone an interior minister. Only possible in Pakistan.
Sajjad Mar 05, 2013 02:07am
look we are silent majority and we keep quiet despite whatever happens to us .That is why all these things happen .The moment every one of us start raising their voice these things will stop.How many of you even bothered to send an email or ring the authorities and express their anger ????plz start speaking for your rights
Najeeb Khalid Mar 04, 2013 08:40pm
and that makes it OK?
Waqas Mar 04, 2013 10:21pm
I do not know how much this incident is connected with sharmila's wedding but i am certain that the entire police of abbas town would have not been deployed because how many personnel are required to cordon off a peculiar limited area, surely it is not more than triple figure. These are merely lame and bogus stories which our media is trying to convey, for the sake of their own popularity, they just want to spice things up, nothing else. And the poor audience is so credulous that they believe whatever is told to them.
Jawwad Mar 05, 2013 07:24pm
Look at her face. Wreaking of cronyism with nepotism taking permanent marks.
SPar Mar 05, 2013 12:59pm
Do you really think that after the elections and, may be, a next government with different set of politicians or even military government would change the way it is being managed?
Yawar Mar 04, 2013 09:20pm
It is amazing how we start blaming everyone and his brother except for those that commit such henious crimes. I totally agree with one Muslim League Q politician who said that he does not see a united will in Pakistan to confront and fight terrorists.
Hyder Mar 04, 2013 09:31pm
Its not gossip but an exaggeration (maybe). Its not a fabrication to say that the elite in society are heavily swarmed by armed police forces. When you multiple sources saying there was no emergency response for the first hour then it does raise some serious questions.
Truth Mar 04, 2013 08:26pm
The Bit$% was more important than the innocent helpless citizens of Pakistan. Yet another SHAMEFUL chapter in the big thick book of Government utter failure to protect its people. !!
Cyrus Howell Mar 04, 2013 08:02pm
Nero may have fiddled while Rome burned but he blamed the Christians.
Cyrus Howell Mar 04, 2013 08:01pm
"All the arguments for police absence given in the article are simple non-sense and nothing more than gossip-mongering which is very well liked by the Pakistani TV media." True. They give the public what it wants, but consider how far the average viewer went in school. Gossip is a deadly sin.
mehmood h. bhanji Mar 04, 2013 08:02pm
He is not the joker, he is making a fool of all of us all we are doing is killing ourselves. Poor on poor crime. Just stop paying any takes that goes to thr Fed.They are having high tea, morning,afternoon, eveningand late night
khanm Mar 05, 2013 01:53pm
Sorrow is so easy to express and yet so hard to tell. Even if you try hard to tell, it seems like no one listens. Have we become so insensitive, so crude, do we have any compassion, any feelings as human? My heart cries out for those who became the hate victims.......
shabut Mar 04, 2013 07:48pm
Whether it is linked to the high profile engagement or not, the sentiments reflect the general perception of millions of ordinary Pakistanis who are looking up to these politicians to provide them the security and the livelihood but they time and time again failed to do so while enjoying every bit of their lives.
Cyrus Howell Mar 04, 2013 07:48pm
"...prominent politicians, including the chief minister and the prime minister, were busy enjoying themselves at a high-profile celebration." . They were busy congratulating each other on how important they are.
RSS Mar 04, 2013 07:53pm
But their media hides it or spins it.
Raza Mar 04, 2013 07:27pm
When innocent people lose their lives anywhere (even in India and even if they are non-Muslims) I grieve for them since we are all connected with the chain of humanity. I am sure there are many others in Pakistan who share my feelings and so do people with conscience in India. May the innocents one day rule the world! Amen!
Nasser Ali Khan Mar 04, 2013 06:19pm
The politicians come from us, the people. Why just blame the politicians?
Mohammed Saleem Mar 04, 2013 04:25pm
we all know that imran khan is the man to run pakistan the rest are all havely corrupt there noting right in that country and these leaders just love to enjoy them self and have a good time while people are getting killed. They just don`t care and will never, I thInk MEDIA should also help him for the sake of pakistan all the best for imran Ameen
Sadaqat Ali Mar 04, 2013 05:27pm
What would have done the police and rangers, if they had not been at engagement ceremony!
Guru Mar 05, 2013 01:30pm
Yes, it does happen in India but political retribution is swift as well. Remember Shivraj Patil changing sherwanis while visiting the blast site in Delhi. He was packed off in a matter of days, as Congress could not handle the heat of public opinion.
khalid Mar 04, 2013 05:36pm
there is a famous saying in England "God save the Queen"...only God can save Pakistan
asfi Mar 04, 2013 04:58pm
Why to blame these idiots, after all we have elected them and are going to do so again. What a mess. May Allah bestow us with wisdom.
muzammil ullah khan Mar 04, 2013 04:17pm
Nero fiddles while Rome burns !!
Cyrus Howell Mar 04, 2013 08:19pm
A policeman is only good at following orders. They are not known for thinking. They do and say what they are told to. Mar 04, 2013 03:13pm
The honorable interior minister has blamed Punjab for the bomb blast. Job done. No more discussion. I am counting the days when this idiot and joker man will leave his office. Once he leaves peace will return to our country.
Tahir Mar 04, 2013 02:59pm
This is Pakistan in its true colours, its shameless leaders and law enforcing agencies. Callous to the point of moral obscenity. If they have any "ghairat", they should drown themselves in the nearest pond or river. The country will then feel cleansed of filth and purified at heart.
Jawwad Mar 04, 2013 03:56pm
And that is supposed to make your low life feel better?
ROHIT PANDEY Mar 04, 2013 03:05pm
Rome burning,Nero's fiddle and utter disregard.....being repeated in Pakistan???
AC1960 Mar 04, 2013 03:07pm
All the arguments for police absence given in the article are simple non-sense and nothing more than gossip-mongering which is very well liked by the Pakistani TV media. There have been attacks even in the past in Karachi and police role has always been criticised. Let us not look for excuses and try to understand the suffering of the citizens. Reality is that our system is unable to protect the citizens, look how many police and military personnel has been killed.
Waseem Nasik Mar 05, 2013 01:57pm
Come on man - stop giving excuses, what were police or rangers or army doing when the Quetta was boold bathed or any other Shia Massacre. There is only one thing to blame and that is nation's inhuman behavior on Shia killings - Face That.
sonali Mar 04, 2013 02:57pm
Happens in India all the time!!
Bhaskar Mar 05, 2013 03:25am
no, its not. what sonali is trying to say that what we had been through in the 80s, you will be going thru now.....utterly disgusting governance
Syed Mar 05, 2013 03:44am
God knows why we have gutless, shameless people like her in the Govt. who has nothing to do with politics, nor knows anything about it. oh wait, the whole PPP is made up of such so called politicians anyway.
Usman Mar 05, 2013 03:47am
This will turn around and will hit her from back. She will realize the day she will mourn for her love ones!
Nazir K Ali Mar 05, 2013 03:48am
So, where were the 32,000 police personnel? Since, the newspaper does not say how many police were on duty at Mohatta Palace, why don't you tell us, Miss Faruqi? People are dying out there, being blown up, and innocent citizens being massacred for no fault of theirs, so where was the Sindh police? Letting the resource consuming, pompous, wastrel politicians get fat. With a high profile dinner in the city, it's only natural that some police personnel will protect VVIPs and the remaining force patrol the city and not allow the common person get blown up and buried by terrorists
Farooq Ali Mar 05, 2013 04:26am
Even a police inspector of the area of incidence can tell you as who has done that and who should be nabbed but he has not been ordered to do so. He will do what has been described above.
Amer Mar 05, 2013 04:28am
Perhaps our state is baseless for saving human(abbas town blast)
goggi Mar 05, 2013 12:07pm
According to Wikipedia, an average of 6 people reside per square meter in the overpopulated, multi-ethnic and multi-religious city of Karachi. Before three years I happened to live some weeks in Sunny View at Johar Mor. It was impossible to cross the road to the other side because of an intolerant and high speed traffic and far and wide no signal, no zebra-crossing and no policeman. At big crossings I saw one or two overstressed Policemen vainly trying to control the flood of traffic from all sides. Every night aerial firings started in the buildings and no police ever appeared. The theocratic(state of God) Pakistan has flopped primarily due to its presumptuous obsession of religious mania(a child of 10 years is already brainwashed from the respective family) and secondarily due to the phenomenal population explosion.
ashiq Mar 05, 2013 05:11am
such a pity news!
ashiq Mar 05, 2013 05:14am
government should take an action , after all he is also a Pakistani and he should know what should he do for Pakistan.
ashiq Mar 05, 2013 05:24am
Tahir Mahmood Mar 05, 2013 05:30am
vote for a better party this time.
Saqi Mar 06, 2013 11:29am
We give vote to Peoples party and for next five years we do blame game. its our own fault. This time also there would be government of PPP & MQM in sindh. nothing will change untill we do any thing
Tariq Mehsud Mar 05, 2013 04:58pm
sharmila is a gashti
Adnan Mar 05, 2013 05:53pm
These jokers have made a mockery of this country and its people, I sincerely hope and wish that who ever comes into power next publically hangs all those found to have been involved in treason, power abuse and corruption to start with.
ummemuhammed Mar 05, 2013 07:07am
Its not abt Sharmila only. We have a sick disparity of resources between the common ppl and vips. it is a result of that. Plus, we need to be united against these attempts to ignite a civil war in Pakistan. As forces recede in Afghanistan, they want Pakistan to be a failed state so that it would "need" to be disintegrated or atleast denuclearized before they leave by the end of 2014... this is not about shia or sunni, it is abt Pakistan.
Saad Mar 05, 2013 07:17am
Isn't it a violation of law that a wedding was being held in Mohatta Palace? Can anyone please clarify?
sabahat Mar 05, 2013 05:16pm
what kind of a useless article is this?
ASP Mar 05, 2013 08:09am
Keep this issue aside. My question is that why so much security for so called VIPs. What wrong they have done to people for which they are afraid of. In many civilized country all Politicians, MPs , Ministers move around without any protocol. If any VIP needs special security he/she should pay to the agencies. Than they have a right to ask for their protection.
Guest63 Mar 05, 2013 09:06am
Yes Sir , exactly , but why are you excluding Rangers , frontier constabulary , Army , navy , Air force ... from head to toe ( the chain of command ) , they are trained to say " YES SIR " , even if the ordering person is saying " You are an idiot "....
S. A. M. Mar 06, 2013 12:47am
Her wedding is doomed to fail because the starting of the relation is marked with such a grave tragedy how it will survive. this is not superstition but its jinxed in real sense. this is real bad news for sharmila of her entire life.
naeem Mar 05, 2013 09:09am
Abbas Town incident was no doubt a grave incident. Security must not compromised with issues like marriage or engagement ceremonies of cheap Politicians. Security must be given prior importance in the wake of growing terrorism in the country especially sindh and baluchistan region
George Mar 05, 2013 09:53am
When will the people of Pakistan say enough is enough ? I would love to see some of those prominent figures resembling Qaddafi on streets among people
MB Mar 05, 2013 09:58am
Failure to prevent the tragedy at Abbas Town was a failure of the investigation agencies rather than of the police force deployed at Mohatta Palace. While I do not endorse the use of the state apparatus as personal bodyguards, it is a gross exaggeration by the media that all of the city's police force was in and around the engagement venue. The state apparatus, agencies, elected officials have failed no doubt. However I don't think that blaming all of this on Sharmila Farooqis engagement dinner is going to solve anything. Instead of jumping the bandwagon, the media should first verify the facts and then present it to the public instead of creating mass hysteria.
Zahid Khan Mar 06, 2013 01:32pm
all those political peoples concern about their security, let pl. leave Pakistan, live some where else in the world,as they took unlawfully either from the peoples or from the country (Pakistan). if they are so scared in their own country, how can they serve the peoples of this country. they are the peoples with no dignity,honer.proud. one day they have to answer to Almighty Allah, those days are not far from them. Time is a big master!!!!!!
Asif Shah Mar 06, 2013 01:29pm
Ethics......well our media is beyond this useless word....!!!!!
Pervaiz Ahmed Mar 05, 2013 10:36am
They are here to enjoy and not to deliver or at least to feel the pain, their broughtup is meant to take pleasure and fly away.
Voice Mar 05, 2013 10:39am
Every one in this government should be stoned to death, that's what they deserve, they are so selfish and ignorant, people dying due to terrorism and hunger and yet they busy enjoying parties at public expense. We as a nation should stand against them, otherwise they will always be ignorant of the fact that they are the public servant not the other way round. And the public will continue to suffer.
PN Mar 05, 2013 10:39pm
A "better party"? Can you name one?
kamran ali Mar 05, 2013 11:34am
Her father swallowed the entire Karachi steel mill and nothing happened rather he was awarded the slot of Federal Ombudsman... this is a joke with Pakistan.
nasir siddique Mar 05, 2013 02:57pm
People should assume that police does not exist. What difference would the police have made anyway. They are useless. Remember a few days ago when a DSP could not file an FIR for the murder of his son. What do you expect them to do for the people?
Khurram Mar 05, 2013 03:09pm
1) Why didnt SF (& Co) cancel the dinner when they heard the news of the incident because the incident happend around maghrib and surely they must have heard within 5 minutes. Why did they chose to continue to 'enjoy' the evening ? 2) Why was the sindh police deployed at the private dinner of a sindh government advisor? Is that not use of public resources for personal buisness? 3) The engagement happened sometime in Feb. This was just a follow-up dinner. How many lavish dinners are to be followed after an engagement? Does she know that half the country's population are food insecure that means half of us dont know where their next meal will come from. 4) How does SF manage such lavish dinners with the humble salary that she is paid as an advisor?
Siyalkotia Mar 05, 2013 03:17pm
Islamic Republic Of Pakistan--Zindabad.
Suleman Mar 06, 2013 02:11am
Pakistani leaders/Politicians are perfect reflection of Pakistani society.
Pavas Ambashta Mar 06, 2013 06:28am
Your Rahman Malik is more concerned about security of Shah Rukh Khan in India..Once he becomes sure about it, he will surely look after common Pakistani people..
nayyar51Syed Nayyar Uddin Ahmad Mar 06, 2013 06:45am
Mr. Asif Ali Zardari Act Now Act Fast. Police absence in Abbas Town: The Sharmila connection. Link:- In connection with the gross dereliction of duties, on the night of March 03, Karachi Abbas Town explosion, by the administration and the police, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari must immediately sack the entire Sindh government; and also dismiss from job the IGP and Chief Secretary, Sindh. Mr. President, as Bernice J. Reagon said "Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are." Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, also must remember that this is the moment of reckoning; and if he will fail to decisively act now, someone else, may act.
Ali Mar 06, 2013 08:01am
Good comment ! Let's fight violence with more violence.... not, I don't think that is the solution. A democracy is about law and law enforcement.
Ali Sher Mussali Mar 06, 2013 08:21am
Anchors and newscasters who favour secret hands always conspire like this.
Tariq Mar 06, 2013 08:40am
appearently Pakistan does not deserve better government! The suffering seems to be not enough, when it is one exepect people to rise. Thats the way it works in all other countries.
umair Mar 06, 2013 09:17am
The engagement took place on Feb 26th, i saw pictures of it uploaded on FB on that day (courtesy of a relative who is in PPP, unfortunately). However, two ceremonies took place (because sharmila is wearing two different dresses on the pictures on the FB profile I saw and the ones that I saw on various blogs). The are rumors that the second ceremony took place on March 3rd in Mohatta palace, which is currently reported in Media. But I agree with that Sharmila Farooqi shall come forward and clarify the situation, in addition it seems unlikely as the writer points out that the entire police was involved seems an usual exaggeration by the media. This is not the first instance that the law enforcing agencies have arrived late. They always do when you need them, and their prime focus in terms of such incidents is always on locations like Masajids, Government offices, cantonments, etc. This is first of a kind terrorist activity that took place in a residential locality.
Syiem Mar 06, 2013 09:53am
Please name that party !