No synergy between LEAs responsible for Karachi mess: HRCP
Karachi: Karachi’s deteriorating law and order situation is the result of weak governance, absence of a local government system and the reigning confusion that stems from lack of coordination between the federal and provincial authorities as well as among the law enforcement agencies (LEAs).
These observations were made by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on the organisation’s preliminary findings on the effects of the Karachi operation under way against criminals in the city.
Briefing the media at the Karachi Press Club on Monday, HRCP Secretary General IA Rehman said the law and order situation in the city was so abysmal that the citizens had ceased to report crimes to the police and learned to live with the lawlessness as a fact of life.
Rehman said: “Back in 1995, when we did a similar survey, we found that the whole city was paying an approximate Rs8 million every day in extortion money. But now in 2014, Rs10 million go to extortionists from one particular area each day. So you can imagine how the business of extortion has progressed over the years.”
The HRCP’s top brass had met various stakeholders of the city – including lawyers, doctors, traders, politicians and LEA officials – as part of a fact-finding mission regarding the ongoing targeted operation in the city.
However, Rehman said the meeting with the Rangers director general was cancelled at the last minute. The organisation would release a comprehensive report based on their findings.
Among his main observations, Rehman noted that the role of the paramilitary forces in Karachi remained undefined, which was one of the factors impacting the effectiveness of the operation against criminals.
“When the paramilitary forces were called in to bring order in the city, their exact role was not defined. There is no mechanism which defines the role of the Rangers and police, and their respective limits.”
He said the fact-finding team had also found out that the number of policemen in the city was not enough for a city like Karachi, and that there was an acute need to strengthen the city’s police force.
“The Karachi police have a force of 26,000, half of whom are active in VIP protocol. In Lahore the people to policeman ratio is 1:303, while in Karachi the number runs into thousands.”
Rehman lamented that during the interviews conducted by the HRCP, many of the respondents had desired that the city should be handed over to the armed forces. Such a response, he said, shows that poor governance could jeopardise democracy.
He deplored the fact that the civil society, which is one of the most effective institutions in a democratic state, was almost non-existent in the city.
“When the government and other institutions have failed to deliver the basic rights to the people, the role of the civil society becomes of paramount importance. If it does not play its role, then their space is often taken over by radical forces.”
He said that over the past three years there had been a significant rise in extrajudicial killings, which the government needed to seriously look into.
Sharing the figures of the past three years, Rehman said that in 2012, 118 dead bodies were found on the roads of Karachi. In 2013 and 2014, the numbers swelled to 194 and 372, respectively.
He said the families of the people killed by law enforcers were not duly compensated. “There are many families who have never been promised anything from the state, while those who were promised something were also not compensated.”
Speaking about the role of the media in the Karachi conflict, Rehman said the people had generally applauded the role of TV channels and newspapers in reporting the events; however, there was an acute need for more follow-ups.