The country’s two main cities in particular — Karachi and Islamabad — seem to be in the grip of street crimes. The weekly statistics with regard to the incidence of this menace that has refused to die down say it all.
It is not that police and other law enforcement agencies are complacent towards their responsibility of providing people safety and security, the upsurge in street crimes in fact stems from the current woeful economic conditions, including unprecedentedly high food inflation and energy prices, that have deepened poverty and exacerbated joblessness.
The interim setup in the country cannot do much because the issue requires a long-term strategy for its resolution. But the caretakers can adopt a short-term strategy that must be aimed at fuelling, albeit modestly, the economy. Providing the private sector lending on concessionary rates could be one of the key steps towards creating new job opportunities in the country in a significant way.
Our authorities must not lose sight of the fact that growing unemployment tops the list of challenges facing the country.
The situation can ultimately lead to massive social unrest in the absence of social security and benefits for most of the unemployed people. The growth in street crimes is only a symptom; it’s not an illness or affliction per se requiring a surgical procedure. Hence the need for dealing with this challenge on a war-footing.
Hamid Khan (Islamabad)
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023