KARACHI: The city’s top bureaucrat had some strange advice for businessmen and traders over how to deal with extortionists.
Form a pressure group, as that is the only way to get things done from any government department, said Karachi Commissioner Roshan Ali Shaikh, while speaking to members of the F B Area Association of Trade and Industry (FBATI) on Wednesday.
“The best resistance against extortionists and robbers will come from civilians themselves,” he said. “You must all lobby as a group.”
The F B Industrial Area has been relatively secured, especially when compared with the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) and three other industrial estates.
Only few cases of extortion and robbery have been reported, say businessmen.
However, land encroachment in some parts of the area have rung alarms bells inside trader circles, and businessmen fear that the situation might escalate like it reportedly has in SITE, where cargo containers mysteriously “disappear” on a regular basis.
“Encroachments can become a nuisance if not controlled right away,” said FBATI chairman Masroor Ahmad Alvi. “Install surveillance cameras in the industrial estate,” advised Shaikh. “My liaison officer will help you to get arm licences.”
However, traders appeared sceptical about the idea. “We are members of the business community; we cannot be expected to use force to resist criminals,” said a FBATI official. Sheikh, on the other hand, said that businessmen need not worry about facing retaliation.
“All the political parties have disowned [these] criminal elements. The law will take its [when an extortionist or thief is killed]. There is no point in being scared.”
Alvi also appreciated the efforts of law enforcement officials for controlling criminal activities in the industrial area.
A team of police officers dedicated to tackle threats to traders and businessmen will soon be formed, announced Shaikh.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2012.