We are left to fend for ourselves

A Karachi doctor was shot in front of his wife by robbers. How can any of us feel safe?

Anum Fatima January 04, 2012
The killing of a doctor, as he drove on a busy Karachi road, last week, right before his wife, must have sent a shockwaves through many city residents. Dr Saleem Kharal, head of the microbiology department at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, had reportedly stopped his car at a traffic signal of a very busy road close to Karachi’s Clifton area.

Most reports into this tragic incident say that two young men on a motorcycle came up to the doctor’s side of the car and took out pistols and wanted to steal his car. They also say that he offered no resistance in this at all but that they thought that the driver sitting in the backseat was perhaps a guard, and they panicked and shot at the doctor and he was killed.

In the past, one has also heard of other horror stories, of people being stuck in traffic jams after bouts of violence in the city or after heavy rains have led to massive traffic jams, and robbed in the process. In such situations, they become easy victims of robbers, who sometimes have been known to target particular areas. Yet, other incidents have involved young men on motorcycles coming in the way of moving cars, causing minor accidents, and then attempting to rob the motorist once the vehicle has come to a halt.

The impression that one gets as a result of all of this is that the police and other law-enforcement agencies of Karachi are nowhere to be found. Either they are busy doing VIP duty or involved in flagging down motorcyclists at impromptu checkpoints and harassing them in order to get them to give them a bribe to be let off. That is why also, we have seen those who can afford better security for themselves, fencing or rather gating off their streets, deploying private guards at their residents and, in the most affluent of cases, have cars full of guards following them wherever they go.

Obviously, the implication of this is that those who are poor are left to fend for themselves.
Anum Fatima Anum works as a sub-editor for The Express Tribune's editorial pages.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Kafka | 12 years ago | Reply Very naive ! I visited Karachi after a gap of seven years and found Bilawal house well fortified. They have blocked one side of the road and the traffic has been left on its own. The point is, the need is to save the VIPs, you, me and the doctor can go to the hell, or where ever you can go after death.
Hanif | 12 years ago | Reply Cannot agree more to the writer. We need to get rid of the political interference into the police system. Get them independent and have them function according to the law (if it exists anywhere)
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