KARACHI: As police launched separate investigations on Thursday into the killings of a Hindu trader and a newly-wed young man in different areas by bandits, the Sindh government of Pakistan Peoples Party, which was already under an attack by opposition parties for recently passing a controversial local government bill, faced a volley of criticism over its ‘failure’ to control growing street crimes in the metropolis amid calls for the Pakistan Rangers to take the enforcement of law and order in their own hands.

The Clifton police registered a case on the complaint of a cousin of Veerbhan Samar Das, a cotton trader of Daharki, Ghotki, who was gunned in Clifton on Wednesday by muggers who also looted Rs7.3 million from him and escaped.

DIG-South Sharjeel Kharal told Dawn that investigators had got ‘key clues’ and they were working on them to bring the culprits to justice with the help of CCTV footage and geo-fencing.

The East police also launched an investigation into the killing of newly-wed Shahrukh Saleem, who was shot dead by robbers when he put up resistance outside his home on Kashmir Road in presence of his mother and a sister.

Probe launched in two recent murder cases

“He was the youngest among four brothers and was like a prince of the family,” said his elder brother Jehanzeb while talking to journalists at his home.

“Shahrukh along with his wife was preparing to go to his in-laws. And our home was full of joy only 24 hours ago. He was very kind and full of life. He was always there to help people. This incident has devastated us.”

The grief of the victim’s family reverberated in a strong reaction from opposition parties which questioned the performance of the Karachi police and criticised the Sindh government for being busy “conspiring to take over control of every institution” instead of focusing on law and order.

First, it came from Sindh Governor Imran Ismail who while visiting Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine to distribute blankets among homeless families interacted with the media and expressed his anger and grief over the incidents.

“These two are tragic incidents,” he said. “The street crime in Karachi has become a menace. The [Sindh] government should focus on law and order and peace in the city. The people are fed up with it. But we see the Sindh government is busy in passing black laws.”

Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh visited deceased Shahrukh’s home and expressed his condolence with the family.

Speaking to journalists later, he deplored the deteriorated law and order situation in Karachi and demanded that the Rangers be allowed to check the escalating criminal activities of outlaws in the metropolis.

“The PPP government’s corruption, favouritism and political interference in the police department have rendered the civilian law enforcement agency ineffective,” he said.

“There is a need for a wide-scale operation by Rangers against criminals to curtail rising incidents of crimes and to protect citizens from outlaws. The Sindh police have badly failed in maintaining law and order and ensuring safety to the people. The fresh rise in crimes in which innocent people are losing lives is just a reflection of this failure.”

Also, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan expressed its concern over the growing incidents of robberies, street crime and killings of people upon resistance and said that it proved the non-existent writ of the state.

“The way the PPP government has left criminals on the loose in the metropolis is just a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of the city and make it a symbol of fear and terror,” it said.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2022

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