A GRIM milestone has just been passed in Karachi. The recent death of a teenage robbery victim brings the number of people killed in street crime incidents in the city between January and September 2023 to 100. To put things in perspective, the total number of people to have died in incidents of terrorism across Sindh during the first six months of the current year is 19. This once again underscores the unsettling fact that Karachi is a deadly city for its people, where armed killers have complete freedom to take citizens’ lives. From posh neighbourhoods to teeming slums, no area of this forsaken metropolis is safe. Muggers strike whenever they can and are ready to kill their victims at the slightest resistance. Figures compiled by the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee illustrate just how large the epidemic of street crime is. According to the CPLC, over the past nine months, some 60,000 incidents of street crime have taken place in Karachi. The figure for all of 2022 was 85,000. Police say between 50 to 60 gangs are active in this deadly business, while mobile-snatching and motorbike-lifting top the list of crimes.
Various factors are fuelling high street crime rates, including inflation, joblessness, and the lure of easy money. People often resist parting with their hard-earned cash or valuables, with the result that they end up paying with their lives. However, addressing the underlying factors behind crime is a long-term project; the immediate need is to quell the deadly wave of killings. Here, the Sindh government has failed miserably. The PPP, which has been ruling the province since 2008, has much to answer for where law and order goes. The caretaker government can only do so much, and it is hoped that the next elected government that takes power in Sindh has solid proposals to beat crime. Otherwise, precious lives will continue to be snuffed out by trigger-happy criminals.
Published in Dawn, September 22th, 2023