On day two of the Supreme Court’s hearings into the implementation of its recommendations in the Karachi violence suo motu case, it was the police that bore the brunt of the bench’s ire.
Resuming the hearing on Wednesday, the apex court bench observed that the politicisation of Sindh’s police force amounted to its failure to carry out its primary duty — that of maintaining law and order. It also went on to say that police officers are now more loyal to politicians than the force itself.
Karachi police chief Fayyaz Leghari tried to defend the force’s performance, saying that they were studying the records to verify the character, political affiliations and criminal records of officers.
The lack of implementation of the court’s orders came up again on Wednesday, with the SC warning of the repercussions of not heeding orders. The bench said that the failure of government functionaries to execute court orders was the main reason for an increase in crimes. If the government legislates to protect criminals, how can courts be blamed for their release, it questioned, adding that all of this is being done in a systematic way.
When the issue of the death penalty was raised during the proceedings, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said the courts had sentenced to death hundreds of convicts whose mercy pleas were also turned down. “No execution has taken place during the last four years,” he said, questioning that, if the death penalty was not required, why had parliament not legislated to end it.
Home Secretary Waseem Ahmed contended that Lahore and Karachi had an equal average rate of 8.5 killings per day, which was lower than big cities of the world such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangkok and Mexico.
Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany rubbished this comparison, saying Lahore had no ethnic or religious issues.
“You’re making it out to be like a 20/20 match,” remarked Justice Khilji Arif Hussain. “The way you are counting human lives in this way.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2012.