Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, the inspector-general of police for Islamabad has given the latest version of the murder in March this year of former minorities affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti. Just days before, another police report had suggested a family feud may have been behind Bhatti’s murder. Inspector Bin Yamin has said a Taliban group was, in fact, responsible. This indeed seems likely given that the Taliban had taken responsibility right after the killing; it should not need much detection by the police to figure out who’s responsible and make arrests.
However, the standing committee has expressed a lack of satisfaction with the police briefing. What is all the more relevant is that some five months after the broad daylight killing of a serving minister we still have no idea as to who may have been behind it. There is a sense of hopelessness in the efforts by police so far; perhaps they are also not quite as determined as they should be to get to the bottom of what was one of the most sensational murders in recent history.
The fact is that we need these crimes to be solved on an urgent basis. It is disturbing that even in the case of the murder of former Punjab Governer Salman Taseer at the start of the year, little progress has been made in the trial. Too often, Taseer’s own character and behaviour has come under the limelight rather than the act of murder committed by his police guard. This is unacceptable. It is only if the criminals behind such acts of violence are punished and brought to justice that we can hope to see an end to such killings; until that happens, many others will remain at risk. The police needs to take notice of this and step up it’s efforts against the militants. The Taliban and groups which back them need to be driven out of our society. We must pursue this aim relentlessly. Otherwise, we will not see an end to terrorism and the loss of life it repeatedly brings with it in our lifetime.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2011.