IN Pakistan, it is not unusual for those with power, money or influence to terrorise lesser mortals. In a society awash with guns and where macho, medieval mindsets prevail, human life and dignity are worth little. This was proved by the tragic murder of Shahzeb Khan. The young man, son of a senior police officer, was shot dead in Karachi’s Defence area late last month, reportedly following an argument. As investigations have moved slowly, the Supreme Court’s orders to the advocate general and provincial police chief of Sindh to file a report with the court by Jan 4 are not surprising. The suspects, who are absconding, are said to belong to politically well-connected families; as the chief justice noted, the authorities have failed to make progress in the case due to “immense political pressure”.

The young man’s death has caused a considerable stir in civil society, with demonstrations calling for justice for the victim. It is a shame the police has displayed a lack of interest in pursuing the case, despite the fact that the victim’s father is a deputy superintendent in the force. Even more disturbing are media reports that some black sheep within the police are tipping off the suspects thus preventing their capture. The victim’s father also claims he faced resistance while trying to register the FIR. If the son of a senior police official can be murdered in cold blood, what can guarantee the security of the common citizen’s life? It is unfortunate that it was the police’s lackadaisical approach that caused the apex court to step in to ensure the case was followed up. It is important that the suspects are caught, prosecuted and punished if found guilty. It would send a powerful message that the high and mighty cannot get away with murder simply on the basis of their clout and connections.

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