WITH elections on the horizon, the incumbents will no doubt trumpet their achievements, both real and imagined. However, there needs to be a modicum of reality attached to their claims. While Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah told the provincial assembly on Monday that the law and order situation in Karachi was “fragile”, his assertion that the overall crime rate in the metropolis has come down under PPP rule and that the crime graph is also down in Sindh’s rural areas is hard to digest. If anything, lawlessness has been Sindh’s biggest problem over the last five years. Admittedly, terrorism is a nationwide problem, but the provincial administration’s efforts to deal with even routine crime have been lacklustre. At the same time, the MQM criticism of PPP rule, particularly on the law and order front, is strange. After all, the Muttahida just moved to the opposition benches in Sindh last week after spending most of the last five years as the PPP’s coalition partner. Whatever the PPP’s performance has been, the MQM shoulders equal responsibility for it.
The chief minister himself admitted in the house that around 4,000 people had been killed in Karachi during the current government’s tenure. Street crime is so rampant in the metropolis that people don’t even bother reporting it any more. The rest of Sindh is no better, with kidnappings and highway robberies common. In some parts of Sindh people are advised not to use the highways after sunset for fear of criminals. Hence, where law and order is concerned, the current government has failed miserably. We can only hope Sindh’s next administration will do a better job and take the steps necessary to restore order throughout the province.