Unleashing another frightful episode of terror and chaos, the fresh wave of violence has once again rocked the coastal city of Karachi in the holy month of Ramadan. Last week, the gruesome and senseless murder of popular Qawwal Amjad Sabri left his fans and admirers in a state of shock and agony throughout the country. Shortly after this incident, a JUP leader and another prominent Noha Khawan just narrowly escaped the assassination attempts in Karachi. Earlier this month, the son of Chief Justice of Sindh High Court went instantly missing in a mysterious manner. Now, feeling insure, a number of artists in the city have also approached the police authorities, asking for the provision of adequate security to them. Presently the most disturbing thing is that the law enforcing agencies are still quite clueless about the motive and perpetrator of this entire disruption in the city.

Reportedly, Hakimullah Mehud faction, a splinter group of Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the murder of Qwaal Amjad Sabri. Obviously this murder case is shrouded in mystery. Therefore, instead of jumping to the conclusion regarding the perpetrator of this murder, the investigative agencies should look into this matter from different angles. In fact, for some time, Hakimullah Mehsud faction of Taliban has not been active enough to execute such terrorist activities in Pakistan. Analyzing the modus operandi and fire-arm (TT pistol) used by the killers, apparently this unfortunate incident only seems to be a case of typical Karachi-specific target killing.

Following this month’s unfortunate incidents in the city, some quarters started criticizing the very role and performance of Sindh Rangers vis-à-vis the ongoing Karachi operation. In fact, this sort of criticism is quite unjustified and rather uncalled for. Undoubtedly, the current military-backed Karachi operation has greatly helped stabilized the troubled city, which earlier has fallen into the hands of criminal mafias and target killers. Dozens of innocent Karachiits were being brutally killed on the city roads on daily basis. Although the criminal elements have not been completely annihilated so far, yet there is an observable decline in the typical Karachi-specific crimes. The networks of different criminal mafias in the city have been busted. Obviously the Sindh Rangers has efficiently performed the part of its duty. Now the Sindh Government and its law enforcing agencies are required to proactively play their role in keeping peace and order in the city.

As a political party, the MQM is the worst affected by the ongoing Karachi operation. In February last year, the alleged involvement of MQM in 2012 Baldia Town inferno incident came into limelight when Sindh Rangers submitted a JIT report of the case in Sindh High Court. Ever since, a number of MQM activists have been nabbed by the LEA’s. A criminal case has also been registered against MQM leader Altaf Hussain in Pakistan in connection with the murder of Dr. Imran Farooq in London. Now, ending their long affiliation with the party, a large number of MQM leaders and activists have joined Mustafa Kamal’s Pak Sarzameen Party. Therefore, it is quite natural that the MQM should oppose the Rangers-led Karachi operation after disputing the role of the participators of this operation. Recently, a criminal case has also been registered against the media cell in-charge of MQM for allegedly propagating against the paramilitary force.

As a matter of fact, the primary responsibility for maintaining peace and order in Karachi lies with the Sindh government. Constitutionally, the federal government is only supposed to assist the provincial government through the military and civil armed forces in case of grave emergency. The ongoing military- backed Karachi operation is the part of federal government’s initiative to get Karachi rid of undesirable criminal elements. But regrettably, instead of actively extending its support and cooperation to the federal government’s agencies in Karachi, the Sindh government has been observed deliberately hampering the pace of this operation. The provincial government has frequently been dillydallying over the issue of the periodic extension of special policing powers of Pakistan Rangers in Karachi. Similarly, the provincial prosecution department has also failed to synchronize with the current Karachi operation.

The Sindh Rangers, while enjoying the support and assistance of the military, have almost accomplished the very objective of diluting the atmosphere of fear after busting the nexus of organized gangs and criminal mafias in Karachi. Now it is the duty of the civilian law enforcing agencies, namely the police, to stabilize the city after establishing the effective writ of the state. But unfortunately, the Sindh Police lack the required institutional capacity to perform this task effectively. Apparently, nor does there exit any will to do the same. Definitely, an effective policing is direly needed to cure the mega city of its chronic maladies. The police force in Karachi has to be organized and trained on modern lines to enable it actively combat the urban crimes. Moreover, some effective tools of community policing and neighbourhood watch system should also be employed to keep a vigilant eye on the criminal elements in the city.

Presently, the video surveillance system is being used as an important instrument to prevent and solve urban crimes in many major cities of the world. Therefore, there should also be introduced an extensive video surveillance system to monitor illegal activities in the troubled city of Karachi. The Karachi police and the KMC have already installed some CCTV cameras at various points in the city. But these cameras are too obsolete to help properly identify the individuals involved in the criminal activities. Besides this, most of these surveillance cameras are either defective altogether or not properly functioning. Therefore, facilitating the LEA’s in combating crimes, there should be installed an adequate number of quality High Definition CCTV cameras across the city. Similarly, the Karachi police should also be equipped with state-of the art geo-fencing technology and modern GPS devices to conveniently and speedily detect crimes.

Observably, besides the police, the performance of other important components of criminal justice system in Karachi, namely the prosecution department and the criminal courts, is also not up to the mark. Consequently, even the harden criminals manage to go scot-free most of the time. Now the Protection of Pakistan Act, 2014 can help a lot in largely plugging the current loophole in the criminal justice system. Therefore, in addition to the ATC’s constituted under Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, the federal government may also consider the option to establish special courts, and appoint special prosecutors and JIT’s in Karachi under Protection of Pakistan Act, 2014.

Based on a sort of finger-in-very-pie hypothesis, a strong anti-MQM narrative has been evolved since the Rangers-led Karachi operation was launched last year. This narrative has tried to blame MQM for every single foul-play in Karachi, ranging from target killing to land grabbing and extortion. The media has also played an active role in the promotion of this narrative. However, despite all odds, the MQM has managed to survive politically in Karachi. No senior MQM leader, including its chief Altaf Hussain, has ever been arrested or interrogated by the LEA’s despite a number of individuals have levelled grave anti-state allegations against them. Therefore, now there is a common perception that the current anti-MQM maneuvering is nothing beyond a media trial or propaganda against the party.

Instead of nabbing MQM leadership on any criminal charge, the political parties like PTI and PSP have been used to deliberately replace this political force in Karachi. However, these endeavours haven’t yield any fruitful result so far. Therefore, in order to improve the security situation in Karachi, the state has to proactively act to establish its complete writ in the city by rising above the politics and political expediencies. Certainly, the press conferences and media trial alone would hardly help in setting things right in this troubled city. Now if the government can’t let the law take its due course in Karachi, then it is better to stay silent than initiating an extensive media controversy in the country. Indeed, what cannot be cured must be endured.