At least we are safe if the nurses ever start rampaging. If there is ever a time when hordes of nurses and hospital attendants start a violent and bloody uprising, then we know that we can rely on the Karachi police to keep us safe. The brave warriors that comprise our local constabulary will not cower in the face of blood-tipped syringes and deadly bedpans. They will don armour, take up cannons filled with water and hold the line, ensuring our survival. Unfortunately, if it is anyone else they have to battle, don’t expect much of a turn out.
In two weeks, the city of Karachi has seen active political parties from the MQM to the ANP to the PPP wage war on the local citizenry. They claim we aren’t their target, but whether a married couple riding their motorcycle on a strike day are shot because they were aimed at or because the bullets decided they were acceptable collateral damage is irrelevant. Thrice in one week the city was shut down. First it was by the MQM who felt that mourning is something that should be enforced, not sincerely felt. Then, by the ANP who had to mourn the results of the previous MQM mourning and then again by the MQM. Since then, the PPP workers in Lyari also decided that grief is an expression best indulged through wanton violence. Apparently, Destruction is a new phase in the recovery cycle, somewhere between Grief and Acceptance.
What has been made clear in all of this is that the police in Karachi is utterly, completely and unquestionably useless. During each strike they protected the people of the city with all the effectiveness of a swab of particularly ineffectual cotton. Currently, their ability to contain the violence in Lyari can be likened to the ability of a locally manufactured diaper trying to contain a diarrhoeic infant’s discharge. So, the question then is, what exactly are they there for?
Now, it is easy to blame them for their failures without considering the causes. These range from pathetic training to a lack of resources to political influence with a healthy dose of corruption sprinkled over the whole mess. It’s hard for the police to enforce any rule of law when every single member of Karachi’s political groups is better-armed than the entire force combined. So the first step towards improvement is better armaments. This, logically, leads to better training so they know how to use their weaponry with consideration and prudence. The claim that they have no choice but to accept bribes when their own salaries are so meagre holds little water when you consider that the majority of our population earns less than them and still doesn’t dive down the path of morally questionable behaviour. And the issues with political influence need to be attended to with postings and promotions being given based only on individual merit. All of this sounds fairly utopian, but to not at least try for it makes no sense. Currently, the city of Karachi is paying money to an entire police force that serves no actual purpose and has an effectiveness that goes from laughable to depressing.
To expect our political parties to behave with maturity and calm is clearly asking for an impossibility. They are comprised entirely of the most reprehensible members of society and are focused on the destruction of the nation. That is their mandate and they will not swerve from their task, no matter how many people have to die to achieve it. With the PPP, the ANP and the MQM, we are all guaranteed a commitment to crime, corruption and much more. From our police, it would be nice to be guaranteed a commitment to, y’know, policing. At least until the nurses return for revenge. Then it will be every man for himself.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2012.
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