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EDITORIAL: Speaking at a recent seminar jointly hosted by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Hikvision, a video surveillance company, Chief Secretary of Sindh Suhail Rajput described the law and order situation in the city as alarming.

What the citizens face on a daily basis though is more than alarming. Till the first week of September this year, more than 56,500 street crimes were reported. These include 19,000 incidents of mobile phone snatching at gunpoint, 104 of cars snatching, 1,383 cases of car theft, while over 35,000 people were deprived of their motorcycles.

More appalling than that some 58 people were killed and 269 others were injured in these horrific incidents. These figures seem to make the nation’s commercial capital its crime capital as well.

Admittedly, considering the size of Karachi and complexity of its myriad problems, maintenance of law and order is not an easy job. But protection of lives and property of its citizens is a fundamental responsibility of the government or state.

The top civil service official told his audience that Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had called a high-level meeting to review the law and order situation, and that a strategy had already been designed to curb growing crimes, particularly mugging, through improved policing.

Furthermore, he said some ten thousand CCTV cameras are to be installed at various points under the ‘safe city project’. These cameras must be of a better quality than the existing ones that do not identify the culprits.

As regards improving policing, at present the Karachi police are grossly understaffed. There have been incidents wherein criminals kept holding up commuters for several hours at a busy road intersection, and the police failed to show up despite being informed.

Even with their limited capacity the police can do a better job by fine-tuning their course of action. The station house officers (SHOs), for instance, know who the criminal elements are within the jurisdiction of their respective police stations. It should not be difficult to keep a tab on them. The intelligence agencies should work in coordination, sharing information they gather as part of their duties. Policing alone will not help, however.

The buck stops at the door of the provincial government. It needs to do all it takes to provide security to the people. There has been some talk of reviving the Sindh Apex Committee comprising senior civilian, military, and intelligence officials in the province.

It had played a major role in combating violent crimes some five years back, and was briefly brought back two years ago. That would be useful but as a short-time measure. For the long haul, the causes of the rising crime graph, such as joblessness, and inadequacy, if not absence, of social justice also need to be given the attention they deserve.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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