Tuesday June 18, 2024

Karachi crime

At least 16 citizens in Karachi fell victim to shootouts by robbers this Ramazan

By Editorial Board
April 09, 2024
Police stand guard at a commercial market area in Karachi. — AFP/File
Police stand guard at a commercial market area in Karachi. — AFP/File

At least 16 citizens in Karachi fell victim to shootouts by robbers this Ramazan. According to a report, 6,780 street crime incidents took place in Karachi in one month, while 20 vehicles were snatched and more than 130 others stolen. The report also says that 830 motorcycles were snatched and 4,200 others stolen during Ramazan, whereas the number of mobile phones snatched was 1,600. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has directed the police to boost security and monitoring in Karachi and to ensure that people’s lives and properties are protected. Meanwhile, MQM-P leaders have asked the federal government to intervene and address the rising street crime issue in Sindh, criticizing the Sindh government and urging that full powers should be given to the Rangers in Karachi and all over Sindh to resolve the deteriorating law and order situation so that peace is restored in the province. From the presence of katcha dacoits in Sindh to now a sharp increase in street crime in Karachi, the problems are plenty for the Sindh government to handle but this is a complex issue that will need all hands on board to resolve it.

First of all, policing is essential. Improving the capacity of our law-enforcement agencies and giving them more resources to fight crime is of utmost importance. Second, it is incumbent upon all political parties to stop blaming each other as this situation isn’t due to just one or the other political party. The Sindh government and all other parties in the city of Karachi and the province need to work together. The reason why Karachi has suffered for decades and is still suffering is that no political party wants to take ownership of the metropolis and instead resorts to blaming each other so that the burden of responsibility isn’t pinned on them. This will not fix Karachi’s problems. All political parties and stakeholders need to work together. We also need a reset in society because it is now becoming impossible for people to live in constant fear of losing their hard-earned money, and that too when they are barely able to make ends meet due to rising inflation.

As for the MQM-P’s suggestion that the Rangers should be given full powers, this will only be a short-term solution. Bringing in paramilitary may help in the short-term but we have seen how this is not a long-term solution. To fix this issue, we need long-term solutions. The real solution lies in proper policing. The police have to be empowered; there is also a demand from some parties that the police should be local to Karachi and not from other areas. While that can be a concern, the real concern is an autonomous, well-functioning police force that is itself not entrenched in the crime syndicates around the city. It is also bizarre that Karachi has still not had safe city cameras. What has stopped the provincial government from doing this? In February, there were reports that the first phase of the Sindh Safe City Project was in the final stages and the project would initially cover the Red Zone, Shahrah-e-Faisal and its adjoining areas. We have been hearing of such reports for almost a decade now. The government needs to fix all this and make the city safe for the people.