Karachi violence: Top cop one hearing shy of contempt

Published: February 9, 2013

“We are going to initiate proceedings against those responsible for non-compliance of our order,” Justice Khawaja warned. PHOTO: EXPRESS/Rashid Ajmeri

KARACHI: 

The chief of Karachi’s police and two other top bureaucrats are a whisker away from contempt.

They failed miserably to answer any of the questions raised by the Supreme Court on Friday on exactly what they had done to tackle Karachi’s violence.

In measured tones, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja leaned forward to stress calmly but firmly at least ten times during Friday’s hearing that the police chief had not done what the court had said.

“We are going to initiate proceedings against those responsible for non-compliance of our order,” Justice Khawaja warned.

There is a lot of verbiage, but practically nothing has been done on the ground in 13 months, the judges repeatedly said, their patience appearing to wear thin as point after point was met with silence, head shaking, digression and excuses.

Justices Khawaja, Khilji Arif Hussain, Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Amir Hani Muslim were hearing a petition filed by Senator Haji Adil Khan. He has asked why Waseem Ahmed, the additional chief secretary for the home department, Inspector General Fayyaz Leghari and Chief Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas should not be held in contempt for ignoring court orders.

Ahmed and Leghari sat together in the packed courtroom at the Karachi registry where police officers scurried back and forth with files and reports as the judges unleashed a barrage of questions.

The judges were told that the law enforcers were being killed in response to action taken against criminals – this, the police had hoped would be proof enough that they were making some progress.

“We feel pain for them,” remarked Justice Khilji before sternly saying, “But your daaman has been stained with the blood of those policemen.”

Illegal migrants

IG Leghari said that Karachi had as many as 1.4 million illegal migrants, including 1.2 million Afghan refugees and that the police and National Aliens Registration Authority were working on the issue. But the prime minister had given Afghans a six-month extension before returning to Afghanistan.

But the judges were not buying this. They had given the police and NARA one year to address the problem. How was it possible that any foreigner could come in to Karachi and commit a terrorist act? Deputy Attorney General Javed Farooqui admitted he was not aware of any progress. The angry judges asked him to immediately summon NARA’s director-general. He failed to show up.

When the judges wanted the federal and provincial government officers to tell them what had been done to stop the influx of the Taliban into Karachi all they got in response was an answer that mentioned yet another team had been formed. It is highly regrettable, the judges noted, that neither was the federal government helping the Sindh government nor had it bothered to file any report.

Judicial inquiries

Waseem Ahmed answered that reports of only 15 judicial inquiries conducted into the Karachi law and order cases were tracked from his department. He was unaware of any inquiries conducted since 1986. This did not satisfy the judges.

Protection for businesses

Advocate General Abdul Fattah Malik mentioned that special cells were set up on extortion.

They had given more men to protect congested commercial areas as well.

“But all of this was done after [businesses] went on protests and strikes,” Justice Hani silenced him.

A pained Justice Khilji remarked that businessmen were taking their investment to Canada, Malaysia, Bangladesh because of the violence in Karachi, resulting in a loss of local jobs.

“There was a time when our children used to travel to Hyderabad fearlessly,” he went on to say. Now people get worried whenever their children leave home.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2013.

Reader Comments (4)

  • Saleem
    Feb 9, 2013 - 6:14AM

    Judges are right questioning IG that what has been done to restore peace in Karachi. What has been done to clean up the Police force and get rid of political appointees? Why there are so many deaths every day and no one is getting caught/punished for those crimes? It is time some of these people should be sent to jail for their negligence.

    Recommend

  • bilal
    Feb 9, 2013 - 7:42AM

    everyday people are being killed in Karachi, families are being ruined and surprisingly no one is resigning. i wish same could happen with the government leaders so that they can feel the pain of poor innocent lives but what I think that the people should be blamed who elected them

    Recommend

  • Saeed
    Feb 9, 2013 - 9:53AM

    What is one to expect when political parties patronize the criminals in cahoots with the police. When the police is used or personal protection, instead of public safety. When the rich and influential kill or injure the poor with impunity. When land grabbing and bhatta mafia run amok under the watchful eyes of the custodians of the law. When murder and mayhem prevails while law enforcers look the other way. When the law makers themselves are the law breakers. Pity the nation…….

    Recommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:51AM

    ET can you please elucidate how the Top Cop always manages to stay a “whisker away”, “one hearing shy” or “one step” from being held in contempt??? You should see your headlines on the Top Cop’s hearings. I would like to learn the Fox Trot moves of the Top Cop so that I can stay ahead of everyone else. Why are the Judges always allowing the whisker to move away from them, or that shy hearing can become less shy, and why that one step of theirs is stuck in cement preventing them a well deserved kick???

    Recommend

More in Pakistan