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CONCERNS were raised during a Supreme Court hearing on Friday about ‘no-go’ areas inaccessible to law enforcement agencies in Karachi. Such a situation has prevailed for some time, with areas such as Lyari largely controlled by criminal gangs off limits to the police. Elsewhere, whenever ethnic tensions boil over, certain neighbourhoods become inaccessible to members of ‘rival’ communities. Yet another matter of concern is that religious militants are steadily gaining ground in the outskirts of the metropolis where they have set up parallel justice systems. So fears that the police are shut out of chunks of the city are not unfounded. That lawlessness is a part of life in this teeming metropolis was illustrated by the killing of a school principal in Baldia yesterday — a day after police officials told the apex court the force lacked the will to tackle crime and terrorism in Karachi. Hence there can be no disagreement with the Supreme Court’s observation that all no-go areas must be abolished. How this is to be achieved is a much trickier question.

True, the solution lies in empowering the police to take action against criminals, but so far this has proved elusive. It is no secret that criminal elements enjoy political patronage in the city. In fact whenever operations are launched or suspected killers, affiliated with certain parties, rounded up it is not unusual to find the police confronted with political pressure to back off. The police are indeed corrupt and inefficient. But can they realistically be expected to deliver when their initiatives are thwarted by political elements?

The police are in a position to deliver better than even the paramilitary Rangers as their knowledge of Karachi’s communities and localities is extensive. But for this to happen, political will is necessary to counter crime and terrorism as it is to depoliticise and empower the force. A neutral, apolitical and professional police force, mandated with the task of upholding the law under all circumstances, is a prerequisite to rectifying Karachi’s descent into chaos.

Comments (11) Closed

K G Surendran Mar 31, 2013 05:09am
Nowhere in the world will the police be able to tackle the kind of violence one reads about in Karachi, it will require a much larger initiative by the authorities.
Roamer Mar 31, 2013 06:10am
Another eg. Of police incompetence is couple of days back my uncle was driving his way back home in defense phase 1, while entering the street a person tried to stop his car but for some reason (maybe he panicked) he didn't .... So this person fire atleast 4 shots athim, he luckily escaped with minor wounds but the worst part was the moment he took a turn he saw police patrol car so he immediately went to them and asked for assistance and action from them but they refused !!! and told him to go to hospital and get his injuries looked at by the specialists. So can anyone please explain the role of police to me?
Agha Ata (USA) Mar 31, 2013 03:30pm
Fighting terrorism of this nature, where the enemy is without a face, location of attack in a city or the location where they attack is going to come from, the time they would chose cannot even be guessed accurately, and then dying himself leaving not even his face for any clue, is a new situation altogether that no one is trained for. Only two things can help fighting this enemy, highly trained psychics, OR super quality of detective work! Is Karachi police in position to do either?
Agha Ata (USA) Mar 31, 2013 04:05pm
To say that Karachi Police could do, but wouldn't do is a wrong premise.
Gerry D'Cunha Mar 31, 2013 04:09pm
corruption in the police force is the root cause of stopping violence in pakistan - police are hand and glove with the criminal gang - a recent live programme on ARY 'saray aam' this was highlighted
ali ahmed Mar 31, 2013 04:36pm
police are them self involved in crimes....90% are coming from outside karachi.......
Khan Mar 31, 2013 04:38pm
Keep on writing nothing will change till the federal and provincial bias against Karachi ends
nadimi Mar 31, 2013 07:30pm
In prevailing circumstances where police finds corrupt officials in its rank along with political criminals, pouring police force from all over the country would result in failure.
Cyrus Howell Mar 31, 2013 11:20pm
Police kill police they can't trust.
Cyrus Howell Mar 31, 2013 11:30pm
What incentive do police in Karachi have to risk their lives for the people? Would you risk yours? What was their reward for helping your uncle? They don't get paid enough. They should leave their families without a father because some criminal shot at your uncle? Tell your uncle to keep a 12 gauge "sawed off shotgun" in his car to protect himself. Buy one and cut off 2/3 of the barrel..
Chisti Apr 01, 2013 12:31pm
Why can't we study effective police policy from NY and Chicago and implement a system with checks and balances? Why not disband the current police and bring in local born and educated people who should be paid adequately. Along have a local public liason office, members of this office should be elected like a local nazim? Superme court is touching major issues with very few officals facing the music - but clearly a major reform is needed with corruption so wide spread.