The Shikarpur incident, in which two policemen and a civil tracker were martyred, has prompted the Sindh cabinet to issue orders for conducting a massive security operation in the riverine areas of Shikarpur, Kashmore and Kandhkot. The aim is to dismantle the nest of dacoits that are wreaking havoc and disorder in the region. Many of these criminals are said to be backed by influential tribal leaders, causing immense tension between security personnel, tribes and criminals. Recent deadly clashes between them have led to many losses of lives on all sides as the situation slowly escalates out of control.
This dilemma, however, has been going on for years and the lack of law and order has made Shikarpur, as well as other areas, a safe haven for criminal who carry sophisticated weapons such as rockets, and anti-aircraft guns. Due to the absence of strong authoritative bodies, major parts of the province have become unruly. Criminals continuously harass civilians, travelers and policemen. Moreover, kidnapping remains a major issue, as reports indicate that 13 people have been recently kidnapped and are being kept in the Shikarpur area.
The recurrent failure to clear these regions of dacoits points towards the ineptness of security officials, particularly the Shikarpur police. Many of them patronise these criminals instead of dealing with them with an iron hand. However, not all can be blamed on them. Due to the lack of facilities and support, policemen have had to risk their lives to try and control the situation. It has been long-standing issue that sub-standard APCs are being used in which policemen were being killed.
Sending these brazen men into action knowing full well the significant threat posed to their lives is criminal. Apart from investigating this issue, the government needs to equip the local police with proper weapons, ammunitions and protection so that they are able to maintain order after the grand operation is conducted. Stability and peace need to be maintained by working together with tribes. At the end of the day, law and order must prevail.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2021.