About 1,400 people have been killed in Karachi since the start of the year, stated a police report presented before a five-member Supreme Court bench on Monday.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, is currently hearing a suo motu case at the Karachi registry on the ongoing violence in the city. They were told that 400 of the deaths were targeted attacks while almost 35 of the bodies were found stuffed in gunny bags - eight of them beheaded.
The police’s only cheerful bit of news was that they have arrested 114 target killers of different ethnicities and groups.
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 1,138 people have been killed between January and July 2011.
But how do the police calculate the number of deaths in the city, given the scope of the killings and the difficulty in obtaining an accurate record?
The police have maintained a record from January 1 to date, based on reports by the cases’ investigation officers as well as the Capital City Police (CCP) record, Additional IG Saud Mirza told The Express Tribune.
“It is a long process, determining whether a murder is a target killing or not,” explained Mirza. “Everything is done step by step which is why it takes the police so long to declare an incident as a targeted attack. The investigation officers sort out the evidence in such cases and then it is decided if the murder is a target killing.” The investigation officers submit the reports to their superiors and, systematically, the reports reach the police officers and later these have to be verified with the CCP records.
“We save the data on everything. We do not add a murder to the target killing section until the investigation proves so.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2011.