What is one to make of the most disturbing of revelations made following the arrest by police in Karachi of four men suspected of involvement in target-killings? One is compelled to ask this question because as it turns out, the men have confessed, according to police, to abducting several victims, raping and torturing them, and then killing them. The suspects have said that they killed those who had done the same to their (the suspects’) colleagues, but who knows what the truth is. The scenes that can be seen on some of the videos, now leaked on the Internet, of those abducted standing naked, tortured and then their throats slit are reminiscent of a grotesque horror film, with a psychopathic sadistic serial killer. However, in this case, the footage seems real, from some home in some part of Karachi.
One was unable to even finish watching the videos and could only wonder that perhaps the city of Karachi is now fast becoming acquainted with the phenomenon which till now was confined mainly to the developed world, especially America — that of sadist, psychopathic serial killers who kill with no remorse or guilt. One has to wonder that what kind of dehumanisation process the killers themselves must have gone through to be able to engage in such ghastly acts given that most ordinary people would not be able to do such things even to animals. In fact, in this context it is worth pointing out that many psychologists and criminologists are of the view that one of the traits — as being part of the ‘MacDonald triad’, or also called the ‘triad of sociopathy’ — shared by many serial killers (based on interviews with many convicted ones in America) is that they tortured animals at an early age. The videos show some of the worst cases of violence, torture, mutilation and desecration of dead bodies that have perhaps ever come to light since Pakistan’s existence. In all of this, it is most disheartening that the government’s response is, as mentioned in a statement by the Sindh chief minister released on August 24, to ask all criminals “to leave Karachi or else”, instead of, say, improving intelligence or targeting the places where such acts happen. No wonder that the residents of Karachi are left with little hope of protection against the killers in their midst.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2011.