THERE can be no better recipe for creating mayhem and getting the writ of the state eroded than to follow a policy of appeasement that encourages groups to indulge in unlawful activities. Sadly, the DHA Karachi and the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) continue to appease the rich and the powerful by allowing them to illegally encroach upon public spaces, to pitch tents and to install and ‘house’ scores of armed private ‘lashkars’ (picture above; right).

In certain cases, where these criminals have occupied main roads, the DHA and CBC have obliged and formally regularised the encroachment by yellow lines across the illegally protruding tents, as seen in one of the accompanying pictures (above; left).

This has made DHA look like a war zone occupied by warring armed militias who protect their respective territories. The state ‘pretends’ to have no writ, takes no preventive actions, and allows the problem to grow till it becomes a national crisis.

Maintaining private armies is a violation of Article 256 of the Constitution. Illegal encroachments violate city, DHA and CBC laws.

Why must these lawless and militant practices of the powerful elite be patronised by the DHA and the CBC? Must we not learn from the recent experiences of the state while dealing with those crossing the legal line?

Naeem Sadiq

Karachi

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2021

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