This year in Karachi the sanctity of the holy month of Ramazan and the festivities leading to the celebration of Eid were overshadowed by the sharp rise in crime, which for the first time included cold-blooded senseless murders some of them carried out at point blank range.

The tragic aspect of these murders were that the victims were unarmed and in some cases did not even offer any resistance.

The ones that dampened the spirits of the populace and brought out feelings of outrage were the murders of young men cut down in the prime of their life and who were supporting their families through hard work; sometimes working till early hours of the morning.

Some of these young men were really desperate to have attempted to overcome armed robbers and for good reason as was later revealed when the entire story of what transpired was made public.

In one such incident It seems that the murdered young man had valuable data in his cell phone and did not have a backup so he put up a fight to save his mobile and was shot dead on the spot.

Also tragic was the uncalled for killing of a food delivery young man who was delivering food past midnight when he was stopped, robbed and in a senseless act murdered on the spot.

Every life is valuable but those cut down in the prime of their youth and who were working to put food on the table for their families are truly tragic events. I am reminded of Indian popular movie Sholay in which the hired hands of the local gangster Gubber Singh kill a young man, the son of a school teacher. The words of the father were unforgettable, who said at the funeral: “The heaviest load one can lift in life is the dead body of an adult child”. This past month many parents in Karachi have lifted that load and one can only pray for them and the departed.

People of Karachi are naturally outraged at this sudden increase in violence in the city and the apparent helplessness of concerned authorities to deal with the situation. I am reminded of such scenarios in the past.

In one such surge of violence the people of Karachi and especially in the affected areas took things in their own hands.

Barriers were put up and manned by the local youth. Any suspicious movement and the streets would reverberate with whistles and even aerial firing. As things calmed down people who have a short memory started concentrating on ease of travel rather than the question of security.

Road blocks were questioned and even their presence was challenged in courts and many had to be removed. Peace prevailed for a while but violence, robbery and murder keeps returning to the city with regularity and no one seems to answer.

In Canada it was not this bad but there were street crimes so there were various steps taken to tackle the problem. The idea of community policing is very effective and was carried out with systematic thoroughness. The programme was called “Neighborhood watch” and entire communities participated.

The participating members had the “neighborhood” logo and banner on their lawns which not only provided information of the presence of this organization in this particular neighborhood but also acted as a deterrent for law breakers who were warned that this community is well protected.

All this was of course solidly protected and patronized by the local police force. It was there that I learned the benefit of having a police force, which is considered a friend and indeed acts as one creating a solid wall of defense against all criminals.

Here the police was a friend and ally not a foe. Most of the officers were well known to the population they were guarding and some were so close that they would exchange birthday and other greetings and knew pretty well everything there was to know about each other.

This of course did not prevent the police officer to hand out a fine to some erring driver in the neighborhood. Respect for law was the guiding principle in these friendships.

Lawlessness in Karachi deserves a response of this nature. A police force that mingles and blends with the community it serves and does not tolerate any lawlessness no matter who is involved.

I was at a party some years back and a very boastful gentleman declared to me that he runs a trucking business but his trucks have never been impounded no matter the offense as his message gets to the concerned police station even before his truck is brought in.Exactly not the type of community policing we want.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

Zia Ul Islam Zuberi

The writer is a well-known columnist

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KU Apr 13, 2024 09:24am
Unemployment n poverty is being given no importance while the Raj enjoys.The complicit role of police in crimes across the country is well known, crimes/exploitation at Tehsil level are even worse.
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Sumaroo Apr 13, 2024 01:38pm
Karachi...Lahore..even Islamabad...its same story everywhere...crimes are all time high...a reflection of economic meltdown!
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