Friday May 24, 2024

MQM-P voices concerns over street crime; PPP says all is well

By our correspondents
April 16, 2024
This representational screengrab is from CCTV footage showing a robbery at gunpoint in Karachi. — Facebook/TheTimesOfKarachi/File
This representational screengrab is from CCTV footage showing a robbery at gunpoint in Karachi. — Facebook/TheTimesOfKarachi/File

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Monday warned that the party would take to the streets in protest if street crime incidents in the city are not curbed.

Speaking at a press conference at the MQM-P election office, Pakistan House, the party’s senior leader Nasreen Jalil said that 59 people have been killed at the hands of robbers in the past few months, and the city’s residents are exhausted from carrying bodies after bodies.

“Karachi is under siege by robbers, and it has become impossible to hold back the residents’ grief and anger,” she said, adding that everywhere in the city an atmosphere of fear and terror has been prevailing.

She also said that the statements of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s Sindh government and the home minister claiming that the situation is normal and that no special action is needed are worrying for the public.

“It makes us wonder what kind of jungle we are living in, under a government whose administration is entirely indifferent to such conditions. It’s a horrendous situation when women, mothers, sisters and daughters don’t feel safe. The incident involving MQM-P worker Shahina Sohail is condemnable.”

Provincial assembly opposition leader Ali Khurshidi, said the Sindh government has completely failed in providing protection to the public against criminals. “This city is not just any city but the revenue engine of Pakistan which has been surrendered to robbers.” Khurshidi said that there is not a single street that is safe, pointing out that over 100 women were robbed during Eid shopping. He said that the issue of street crime is not just the MQM-P’s problem but it is a problem of people of all religions.

He added that the families of those killed by robbers should be asked how they are coping, and that it is shameful of those ministers who say that the law and order situation is stable.

He mentioned that engineers, doctors and officers of the Pakistan Army are being killed, with no one to inquire. He remarked that more than 700 residents have been injured this year and over 400 vehicles have been stolen.

The MQM-P leader said that the mechanism behind street crime is very dangerous, as the police delay registering FIRs. He said that an estimated Rs900 million worth of mobile phones are snatched from people in a month, and annually over Rs10 billion worth of phones are snatched.

“Street crime incidents have now turned into an industry, and it seems that the Sindh government is also cooperating with this industry. It’s an extremely alarming situation,” he lamented, saying that people are being murdered on roads and highways, and even places of worship are not safe.

He added that every child in Karachi knows who is involved in street crime, so the people destroying the city’s peace should be exposed. He said that it is the Sindh government’s responsibility to act, and that this is not a political issue but an issue of people’s lives and properties.

“We will voice our concerns over street crime in the provincial and national assemblies. If our voices are not heard, we will be forced to come out on the streets. We should not be forced into protesting. We will also make our protest heard in the provincial and national assemblies.”

Khurshidi said that this issue is not just the MQM-P’s problem but it is the whole city’s issue. “We will soon announce our next course of action. Protecting the lives and properties of the residents of Karachi is our duty.”

‘Politics of hate’

Responding to the press conference of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Monday, Sindh government spokesman and Karachi Mayor Barrister Murtaza Wahab said the provincial government of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is taking steps to prevent crimes throughout the province, including the city.

Wahab said that some suspects have been killed in police encounters, adding that those who rob people cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. He said that a crackdown has been started against criminals from Kashmore to Karachi.

He also said the home minister and the police chief are currently in Kashmore, while police and Rangers are busy with tough operations. Police and Rangers are busy taking action against the riverine dacoits and the city’s street criminals.

The mayor said that those engaging in politics of hate in the city are merely politicking, and they are not at all sincere with the people.

He said that on the one hand the MQM-P calls for the strengthening of local institutions, but on the other, the federation invites them to control the province, so when the party is internally divided, they lose their senses and say similar things which they later regret.

He pointed out that the MQM has always done politics of hate, and that those who do politics of hate are victims of political isolation, while the PPP is sincere with its people and serious about solving their problems.

“Instead of paying attention to frivolous things, we believe in action. We will counter criticism with development works and establishing peace,” he said, adding that Karachi’s people have not forgotten the days of sacked corpses, extortion and oppression.

Wahab said that it was the PPP that gave peace and order to the people of the city. He expressed hope that the party would succeed against street criminals too.