The Sindh government is giving the police five billion rupees to buy new vehicles and equipment, announced Home Minister Manzoor Wassan on Monday at the Sindh Secretariat.
It will buy 40 armoured personnel carriers of which 15 would be supplied by the end of this month. The struggling police force is understaffed and underequipped, given the size of Karachi city and the terrifying spread of crime. Wassan agreed that there was a severe shortage but that the president had directed the Sindh government to appoint 10,000 new men. “We will appoint 5,000 each in Karachi and the other districts,” he said.
But until this happens, the department will continue to grapple with spiralling violence. “I warn these terrorists to understand the language of peace,” said Wassan. “Otherwise we can deal with them strictly in Ramazan. They should be wary of my anger [jalal].” Wassan was referring to what he says are his powers as a faqir. According to traditional beliefs, if the faqirs are incensed, terrible things are known to happen.
And yet, the home minister confessed to confusion. “I cannot understand how the violence, which takes place in one area, takes the whole city in its grip,” he added.
As an international city, Karachi’s worsening law and order can only be enforced by taking action. But the home minister said that talking to stakeholders was just as much a part of the picture. Wassan said that he knew how to tackle the people who were spreading violence but once again he was imploring the political parties to cooperate.
Wassan, who took office on July 9, has claimed to have controlled Karachi. But despite his best efforts, the body counts have risen each day. Orangi, Surjani, Malir, Landhi and Lyari have been particular flashpoints. When asked about his commitment to control the situation, the home minister replied, “I have hardly been in the job twenty days. You people [the media] should wait for the one-month deadline before asking any questions.” He maintained that he had nevertheless resolved violence in Kati Pahari, Lyari, Malir, Khokhrapar and a dispute between the Katchi and Baloch in Lyari.
Responding to a question on the new Surjani Town violence, the home minister said that people from different ethic backgrounds were being killed. “I had directed the revenue department to look into the matter, provide ownership rights of the land where the land grabbers were deputing armed men and had started the bloodshed.”
Despite being pressed, the home minister did not give the exact number of men arrested in target killing cases. He said that many suspects were arrested but identifying them would be premature.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2011.