Lamenting the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said on Friday that the country’s main commercial and trade centre of the country had turned into a hub for terrorist activities.
Addressing a three-day conference titled ‘Combating Terrorism through Law’ at a local hotel, he said local and foreign investors would be willing to invest in businesses only if the environment was viable, but Karachi was now facing serious security challenges.
The event was arranged by the Sindh High Court Bar Association in collaboration with the Sindh High Court.
“The law and order situation has a direct and significant bearing on the peace and the economic development pattern of a country,” he quoted an observation from the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s suo motu case on the law and order situation in Karachi.
Justice Chaudhry added that the Supreme Court had suggested many steps for amelioration, including depoliticising the police as it was a proven fact that political influence and other pressures impede the competence of the investigation agencies, whose role in providing justice to the accused was of crucial importance.
“If the investigations are not up to the mark, the proper procedure is not followed and the remaining room is filled with corruption and bribe, then how can the responsibility of providing justice be imposed on the judge sitting in the courtroom?” asked the chief justice.
Chaudhry stated that some “unscrupulous elements” were trying to create a false impression that acquittals in anti-terrorism and other courts of those accused of crimes was due to the weakness of the courts.
“I must clear this impression and say that almost all cases of acquittal are a direct consequence of faulty investigation and poor prosecution.”
Speaking on the security situation prevailing in the country, the chief justice observed that the spectre of terrorism with renewed intensity had left the law enforcement agencies struggling to cope with the new challenges.
Citing the Global Terrorism Database, he said that there was an exceptional increase in the number of terrorism incidents during the years after 2007 and underscored the importance of an effective response.
For the period of 33 years between 1974 and 2007, he said, the number of terrorism incidents was 2,590 with an average of 78.5 incidents per year.
“In just three years from 2008 to 2010, the number of incidents was 1,929 with an average of 643 incidents per year,” Chaudhry said, adding that the number of incidents per year had increased to more than eight times when comparing the two periods.
The chief justice opined that the trend of target killings had moved far beyond the earlier sporadic incidents of ethnic and sectarian killings. Now, he said, the state institutions were also being targeted.
“Neither any personality nor any institution is immune from such dangers,” Chaudhry claimed.
“Terrorists belong to no particular religion, race or colour,” said the chief justice, adding that they spread terror to create fear in the public on a large scale to achieve their motives.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2012.