KARACHI: A senior police officer claims to have identified a nexus between jihadi and sub-nationalist secular militant groups in the country and said that they are providing each other safe havens.

DIG and novelist Omar Shahid Hamid also said young people are inclined towards militancy due to a disconnect between them and the state.

He was speaking at a talk on the rising trend of terrorism, crime and violence and solutions to curbing these, organised by Concerned Citizens Alliance (CCA) in collaboration with the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) at the PMA House on Friday.

Coming to the point right away by bringing up the latest terrorist attack on foreign nationals in the city earlier in the day, DIG Shahid said that the law enforcement agencies are facing difficult times where they are seeing a downward spiral due to the state of the country’s economics. “There is a spike in street crime, an increase in terrorist attacks,” he said, adding that the challenges faced by Pakistan regarding crime would even overwhelm Western countries.

Novelist and police officer Omar Shahid sheds light on resurgence of terrorism

He said it is not like nothing was done to control the crime but they are still unable to enjoy the peace dividend of the sacrifices that the law enforcers have made.

“Even though Pakistan was able to break the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan [TTP], so many militants who had gone back to Afghanistan are back due to some unfortunate decisions on the part of our government. We have been seeing resurgence [of terrorism] for the past two to three years and incidents are not just shooting or firing incidents but suicide bombings, meaning the terrorists’ capacity is increasing. They have slowly revived and we have reverted to our position of 2014,” he observed.

He also mentioned militancy in Balochistan and said that it was also eating up the country’s resources.

“We have expanded our footprint there but the problem is still not solved because the militant groups have collaborated. The jihadi groups are helping the secular groups, providing each other safe havens. There is looting and extortion as the whole system of crime feeds on it. They enable the militant groups to function comfortably as they collect amazing amounts to become some of the richest groups in the world,” he said.

“The heart of the problem is the motivation for these groups. The youth are inclined towards militancy due to a disconnect between them and the state. There is a difference between their vision and the vision that the government wants to give to its stakeholders. They are not buying that vision,” he said.

About street crime, he said renting a pistol and snatching three iPhones in a day looks far easier and feasible than holding a job, which pays far less than that in a month. “Meanwhile, desperation is increasing on both sides, that of the criminal and that of the victim. This increase leads to violence and the sensational stories that you see and hear about,” he added.

DIG Omar Shahid said that he was not saying all this as an apologist for the performance of law enforcement agencies. But he felt that the government has not invested enough in the capacity growth of the police here.

‘Politicisation of police’

Another issue that he pointed to was “politicisation of police”.

He explained this by pointing to the fact that internal politicisation has increased in the police.

“And it’s not by one political party. There are also non-political actors because of whom there comes a problem with accountability. For instance, there is the inspector general of police who may not feel that he is accountable to the chief executive of his province. Then his entire chain of command may also feel the same. This becomes a problem on the operational level then. We need to reverse this, which is a tough thing to do because there is political inference and control in police in the West, too,” he said.

Earlier, CCA founder Azhar Jamil and their coordinator Mirza Ali Azhar also mentioned how the entire city is in the grips of crime.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2024

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