The govt ‘takes notice’ of target killings today, tomorrow and forever

Published: April 17, 2011

'Taking notice' has never really amounted to anything except an exercise in public relations.

Once again the chief minister of Sindh, the governor of Sindh and other responsible senior functionaries of the government have taken notice of the recent spate of target killings in Karachi.

But I have to say that I have been reading such reports ever since my childhood, saying that such and such authority has taken notice of such and such incident, and promising such and such action. But it has never really amounted to anything except an exercise in public relations.

The first time I heard of this “taking notice” was when a provincial minister education ‘took note’ of an incident of kidnapping involving a classmate of mine at school. When the news came that the minister had “taken notice” the school administration and teachers were all happy and hoped that the kidnapping would be resolved. I asked my teacher what would happen now and she said that our friend would soon be freed, since the government had finally taken note.

But she was dead wrong – no pun intended of course – because two days after the minister claimed to have ‘taken notice’, the body of our classmate was found. This happened because his parents were unable to pay the amount that the kidnappers had demanded as ransom. Clearly, the government was unable to do much though it wanted to give the impression that it would resolve the matter.

Since then, whenever I come across a news item in the press saying that the president, or prime minister, or chief minister, or governor or some minister has ‘taken notice’ of any wrongdoing and has issued directives for redressal or remedy of the situation, I become most sceptical.

Only time will tell whether the taking of notice by the Sindh chief minister and governor of the most recent round of target killings will have any effect and end this violence. Going by past experience and performance of the Sindh coalition, what is likely to happen is several public statements where ministers will profess their desire for peace and an end to the killings and some pictures in newspapers, followed by yet another bout of killings. And this cycle will go on and on.


Hafeez Tunio

A reporter working on the Karachi pages of The Express Tribune. He covers political and environment stories. He says he wants to write on environmental issues, because he loves nature - in spite of what it did to him.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.