With over 13 stabbings in one month, Karachi needs the Rangers, not the (incompetent) police

Published: October 9, 2017
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Recently, news broke out that the attacker had been caught, only for another attack to happen and prove that he in fact remained at large. PHOTO: FILE

I have yet to meet a Karachiite who holds a high opinion of our police force. Our police officers are notorious for being highly corrupt and incompetent, which is not surprising, given the level of corruption and bribery prevalent in the system itself.

Therefore, I was not surprised when during a conversation about the recent stabbing attacks, my driver mentioned that the attacker is probably a policeman, which is why he has not been found so far. He was of the opinion that,

“Even if he’s caught, they will not proceed against him, because he is one of them.”

While this may not necessarily be true, this statement alone speaks volumes about the low opinion the common man holds of the police in Karachi.

After stabbing over 13 females in Karachi, all within a span of one month, the attacker is still at large. The police are clueless and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government has, unsurprisingly, only proven its futility.

The Sindh Home Minister, Manzoor Wassan, believes that the success of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the reason behind these attacks. It is a wonder that Wassan didn’t say that the stabber is simply jealous of the tremendous corruption in the province.

The Sindh Chief Minister, Murad Ali Shah, says that the attacker is perhaps the same man who carried out similar attacks in Punjab. He said,

“We will not let anyone play with the law.”

If only the attacker had asked the CM before taking the law into his own hands, he would certainly have refused. The CM needs to realise that it is his government and himself that is to blame for the deteriorating law and order situation in the city. The reason, of course, is that our hard-earned tax money is siphoned away to foreign banks instead of being spent on removing garbage or the improvement of law and order.

The situation has obviously, however, highlighted how completely incompetent the Karachi police have become. The attacker is traveling on a motorbike and his build is visible through footage of the attacks. The crime itself is localised to specific areas.

So far, the police have not only failed to catch the man, but they have also taken to asking civilians to help, including setting a bounty. Recently, news broke out that the attacker had been caught, only for another attack to happen and prove that he in fact remained at large.

Instead of admitting that they have failed at doing their jobs, the Karachi police chief Additional IGP Mushtaq Mahar claimed that while the attacker was probably suffering from psychological problems, he is being encouraged by the excessive media publicity given to the incidents. He is reported to have said,

“We don’t deny that these incidents are taking place but it is our request to the media not to blow these events out of proportion.”

I wonder why he didn’t say that the media should stop mentioning crimes completely. He may believe that the knife attacker will stop hurting women if newspapers and TV channels stop creating an unnecessary hype about his misdeeds, but we know that as long as the number of qualified and trained policemen is not increased substantially, Karachi will continue to suffer.

Again, it’s a mystery as to why they do not have a picture of the attacker, despite the presence of so many CCTVs in the locality. They also claimed that the attacker is unidentifiable because he wears a helmet, even though he has been seen without a helmet in one instance. Perhaps most of the CCTVs are non-functional, having been bought from someone who paid the right people a huge amount in commissions?

The fact is that Karachi needs at least four times the number of policemen on its streets than it currently has. When last counted, Karachi had only 26,000 police officers to maintain the law and order situation in the city. About 40% (11,000) of these are involved in protecting VVIPs from attacks, so that leaves only 15,000 to patrol our streets and catch criminals, thieves and other law-breakers.

No wonder cell phone snatching and other crimes continue to soar and the residents of the city are often scared to venture out of their homes after dark. There is only one policeman for every 1,000 Karachi residents, which is simply not enough. Compare this with London, which has one policeman for 152 people, or New York with one policeman for 237 residents. So, increasing the number of policemen in the city is the first thing the Sindh government should do.

Other than increasing the number of policemen, the government should impart adequate training to them. To catch criminals such as the knife attacker and cell phone snatchers, plain-clothed police officers should be deployed throughout the megalopolis. Of course, the government should immediately suspend and punish those police officers who harass innocent citizens or who indulge in robberies and crime. But if they continue to appoint policemen who are activists of the ruling party or who are from their home towns, there is no hope for the people of Karachi (who pay 96% of the taxes required to run the Sindh government). If the crime cannot be controlled by the police authorities, which they usually cannot, then the Rangers should be deployed on immediate basis.

As for those who manage our police stations, the less said the better.

When the first victim went to complain and file a report about the attack, they suspected that her father had stabbed her and detained him. This is the main reason why the suffering people of Karachi never go to the cops when they are robbed; they know they will be harassed to no end.

Shakir Lakhani

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (twitter.com/shakirlakhani)

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

  • NKAli

    How true! How unavoidably CORRECT! Shakir bhai has hit the nail on the head where it hurts the most.
    The SHC brought back AD Khowaja as the IGP Sindh, but where is the activity of the police force in nabbing crooks and criminals of every ilk and kin? What is the IB doing? Take for assistance the MI and ISI. The ISI should be able to nab the stabbers in a matter of hours.
    The PPP is a ‘has been’ political party and it should now be subject to and the focus of speedy and merciless scrutiny and accountability. SalamsRecommend

  • Patwari

    Should you not be advocating a separate province? For the people of Karachi?
    Would it not be better? Karachiites very own everything. Out of slavery and bondage
    from the waderas and Zardari cabal. And then solve Karachi’s problems.
    Karachi, Thatta, Hyderabad, perfect for the newest province.
    Sindh govt. lives in Dubai. The head honcho has a chateau outside Paris. Spitting
    distance from the late Marie Antoinette’s old palace. Remember her? Same one who
    said the famous words..’ if they don’t have chapati let them eat sheermal…’Recommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQ

    When the first victim went to complain and file a report about the attack, they suspected that her father had stabbed her and detained him. This is the main reason why the suffering people of Karachi never go to the cops when they are robbed; they know they will be harassed to no end.

    The citizens of Karachi are slaves of Feudals and Law enforcement agencies. May Allah give us relief from these two sinful groups.Recommend

  • Nabeil Schiek

    If Rangers is the only solution for maintaining overall city’s security situation to recent stabbings in Jouhar, then completely kick out non-performing, corrupt and auxiliary police from the Karachi city to save the payroll cost and relieve the natives from this pain.
    Why are we bearing this dual burden on public funds to fulfill the same purpose of security? or to escort ‘Zardari and Humnawan’ only?Recommend

  • Nabeil Schiek

    Very true…Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    Not only Karachi, all the present (27) divisions should be made provinces with full financial control over their resources. The center should have control only of defense, foreign policy and communications. 80% of the taxes generated by each province should be spent on development of that province, the rest can go to the center. This is the only solution to Pakistan’s problems.Recommend

  • Ravian

    Rangers are a para-military force not trained for civilian duties. They were deployed in Karachi for six months in 1989……. There continuous presence has only added to the problem. The solution is a new modern police force, and this can easily be done in the amount which is given to the Rangers.Recommend

  • ehsan

    agreed. Rangers need to be heading this investigation. Police is incompetent and useless.

    It’s a shame that the govt is ignoring such brutal acts.Recommend

  • Hassan Mirza

    Today the problems facing in Pakistan specially security is created by whom to start with ? The people who created the issue Pakistani resident want them to protect them ?does it make any sense .? if every body live and work in there domain Pakistan not have no issues at all.Recommend