Amidst the tragedy of the past several days, a positive news report has emerged about the city which unfortunately over the past few years became synonymous with violent crime. According to a report by the Inspector General of Sindh police, Karachi has seen an overall drop in crime of all sorts in 2016 as compared to 2015. Most significantly, the number of targeted killing fell drastically by 72%. The time when a fear of such killings gripped the city, took lives of ordinary citizens as well as prominent personalities and had a hugely negative impact on the economy has not been forgotten. Karachi suffered for years as crime rates soared and street crime became so commonplace that you would be hard pressed to find an individual who had not had their phone snatched at least once. Since the crackdown on such activities began, anecdotal evidence has been emerging that things in the city have improved. This is also evident from the growing number of cultural and entertainment events being hosted by various venues in the city and the prices of property which have grown to astronomical levels in the past couple of years.
Meanwhile, according to the report, crime rates have dropped in other parts of Sindh as well particularly when it comes to cases of murder, robbery and extortion. However, despite the percentage decline, the actual figures are still quite high. Additionally, 41 policemen lost their lives in 2016 which although fewer than the 90 individuals who died in 2015, is still too high a number to be acceptable. The efforts of our law-enforcement agencies to bring peace to crime-ridden areas of our country are surely laudable however, given the current security climate more efforts will surely be needed in the future. Pakistan is yet again in the grip of a wave of terrorist incidents to counter which the military has announced a country wide operation. The ramifications of this, on a localised level, remain to be seen. But for now, the citizens of Karachi are experiencing a more peaceful environment and making the most of it.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2017.
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