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- Saturday, November 17, 2012 - From Print Edition

Nearly two years after Geo reporter Wali Khan Babar was shot dead in Karachi, it seems that Babar, a dedicated and respected young professional, is to be denied the justice that he deserves even after death. While the conviction of those who killed him will not bring Babar back to life, it may have offered some solace to his family and deterred similar targeted killings. Hopes that this would happen died on the night of November 11, as assassins shot and killed the last eye-witness to Wali’s murder, Haider aka Saleem, after barging into his house and pumping two bullets into his head. The Sindh High Court had given clear-cut instructions to the provincial government to give Haider ‘foolproof’ security. This obviously did not happen. Senior police officials say that, with Haider’s death, it will be extremely hard for the trial court to reach a conclusion. Haider, who had identified five suspects in a police line-up, was due to appear before the ATC on November 13 – two days after he was murdered. The case has since been adjourned.

While 23 witnesses were listed in the murder case of Wali Babar, only six had agreed to testify – there is no doubt that fear of being killed was a key factor in this. Between January 2011 and now, all six have been killed, Haider the last to be brutally murdered. The victims included two policemen, a police officer’s brother, an informer linked to the investigation and two civilians. The killers are obviously ruthless men but as we have seen in other cases before this, their actions, backed by the larger gang they belong to, mean they have almost certainly been able to evade justice again. It is an unfortunate reality that the rule of law has collapsed and justice is now but a distant dream. Wali Babar’s killers may very well escape scot-free, illustrating the plight of a country where order has completely broken down, with cities run by gangs. While the courts may be ready to dispense justice, work on the other side by the prosecution – investigators and the evidence collectors – has simply been dismal, non-existent. The decay that was allowed to take over has now completely set in and authorities seem helpless against these criminals. The question now is if we can get things back to some kind of order. The tragic deaths of Wali Khan Babar, Haider and numerous others, suggest that this may not be the case, leaving us as mere witnesses to the violence and mayhem that now rules this land.

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