As a permanent solution to control the bhatta mafia or extortionists, businessmen of Karachi say that the state itself will have to step up and register FIRs against the extortionists. They said that business cannot risk losing more by taking this step against a so far uncontrolled menace.
With a rise in cases of assault and targeting of the business community, there is a growing feeling of insecurity and anxiety in amongst businessmen as well as the conviction that the government has failed in providing security to citizens.
Even those who represent the business community of city, now feel that it is getting difficult for them to convince businessmen to register FIRs. They say problems like lack of trust in the legal system and long running cases in courts discourage people from taking on extortionists.
“Those who initially mustered their strength to challenge extortionists in courts are fast losing faith in the government,” former Chairman Federal B Area of Trade and Industry Idrees Gigi said, “Primarily because extortionists are openly challenging the writ of state by attacking businessmen who refuse to pay money and thye government is apparently helpless.”
Businessmen suggest that the government may give powers to the police to register FIR on behalf of the government and this power can be given to government behalf, this will relieve a lot of pressure from businessmen who want to take on extortionists. These powers should be given to SSPs Senior Superintendent of Police, because junior rank officers like SHOs, usually succumb to political pressures, he added.
Business leaders of Karachi who met several times with Federal Minister for Interior Rehman Malik say that a lot has to be done to control the situation of crimes. They say little has happened even though the issue has been raised several times at various platforms. But some do feel that the recent crackdown was a positive development.
People feel that government is not even trying to protect citizen’s life and property. They also question the will of government to control criminal gangs who have apparent links to leading political parties of the country. With this entire situation, the business community believes that the situation is getting worse.
Chairman Korangi Association of Trade and Industry, one of the biggest industrial zones of Karachi, Johar Ali Qandhari agrees that businessmen are not registering FIRs in extortion cases owing to fear.
However, he says that it is difficult for government to lodge FIR on behalf of citizens. “It is true that there is fear in people and nobody wants to come on forefront. People think that if they register FIR, the criminals would soon come out unharmed and harm them eventually,” he said.
All businessmen whether they agree or disagree with the idea of government lodging FIR on citizens’ behalf, they all agree to one point: the situation of security in general is unbearable for businesses in the financial capital of country.
Industrial associations do help their members in such cases but they cannot lodge an FIR on our member’s behalf, Qandhari said. For instance, as a chairman of association he said he cannot register FIR because then he would have to appear in all the court hearings. “But, I do agree the situation cannot improve until the common man has faith in the system that criminals will eventually be brought to justice. Until no one will come forwar,” Qandhari said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2011.