Black Prado vs white Corolla

Published: March 10, 2013
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The writer is Editor of The Express Tribune

The writer is Editor of The Express Tribune

The black Prado has replaced the white Corolla in Karachi. We are told that such vehicles are being used by a gang who target single women in cars and force them to stop and then kidnap them. Social media is flooded with stories of such incidents. In some such stories, there is the involvement of the police as well.

None of this is confirmed. Senior officials say that not one such case has been confirmed either with them, the CPLC or even the media. They say that the panic being created is without foundation.

Despite this categorical denial, women drivers have reported instances where they were followed by SUVs with tinted glasses and government number plates. This has been independently confirmed. But there have been no reports of criminal assault. And yet, there never is.

One is reminded of 2008 when a man called Ali Muhammad Hajiano let loose his reign of terror on the city. After looting and raping on multiple occasions, he was finally nabbed in 2009 but for the past four years remains behind bars without any sentence.

In the midst of the Prado stories, we also hear that children are being kidnapped at schools in Karachi. Again, this is not confirmed from any source. But this only makes people in the city more nervous. Parents are now sending guards to schools. The schools have become more unsafe.

It is difficult to sift fact from fiction. What to report and what to suppress? How not to create panic, but at the same time, report what is happening on ground? On the one hand, many such crimes go unreported. On the other, if such incidents happened on the scale that they are claimed to have, one would expect someone to come forward.

To make matters worse, we have the case of a woman who was nearly abducted last week at a busy Karachi mall. The police continue to run around in circles. They still have no clue why the kidnap was attempted.

In all this, there are a number of common threads. For one, the police remain helpless. Also, cars with tinted glasses and government number plates were used. And finally, there is a whiff of involvement of police officials in either committing the crime or helping cover it up.

What we do know is that despite the hiring of hundreds of policemen and pumping millions of rupees in law and order by the government, Karachi has become even more unsafe. More so because there is no political will to fix the problem. The only time law and order seemed to improve was when Dr Shoaib Suddle was given charge as IG, Sindh.

Petty crime is giving way to gangs and to political violence. The police and the Rangers, comprising mainly of non-locals, are seen as outsiders and part of the problem, not the solution. No one is making any effort to talk to the people or engage them. You don’t see this level of crime in any other city of South Asia, let alone Pakistan. In no other city do we see the police indulging in brazen corruption — fleecing people on the streets and in their houses.

Some say that removing the police altogether will help improve law and order in Pakistan’s largest city. Others say that the Rangers don’t allow the police to operate properly. The ruling party insists that political compulsions and intelligence agencies are responsible for this state of affairs. The Rangers, who seem to have the best deal, continue to be funded excessively with little to show for it.

The police need to act quickly to nab those who are misusing government number plate vehicles. Many of these cars are driven by children of high government officials and are, in fact, in many instances, involved in crimes. In other instances, it is their drivers. They should also ban tinted glasses. Today, we see the police only nabbing those in smaller cars. One never sees Prados being challenged. We should also take action against those police officials caught in crimes. It’s not good enough to sack them. They should be arrested and punished. And maybe we should bring back Dr Suddle ahead of the elections.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • ali
    Mar 10, 2013 - 11:28PM

    No acquaintance and familiarly with urban culture is one of the cause of such heinous crimes. Peculiar environments of major cities allows no gender discrimination rather offer more respect and privilege to a lady that takes part actively in every walk of live in which comparatively low degree of denial of woman rights is there. Many coming to Karachi with hefty pockets hanging down feel flaxen and gorgeous feminine a easy target for their evil needs in an environment never seen before. Augmented by resources, clout and cash takes them to the frustration that leads to such incidents. Unfortunately, government never stand up in getting rid of this societal infection.A god topic taken on by Kamal Siqqiqi, I appreciate.

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  • Malik Tariq
    Mar 10, 2013 - 11:35PM

    Very good report about the crime situation in Karachi and apathy of our police, bureaucracy and elected civil government. In the incident of attempted kidnapping which was thwarted by the timely intervention of armed guards of Hyperstar in Dolmen Shopping Centre located in Clifton, the faces of all the kidnappers are clearly visible. If the local police and their political bosses are not involved, what stops them from publicly releasing their photographs on all private and state owned television channels to be shown on prime time news broadcasts repeatedly and in all leading newspapers. The car in use, although unregistered, must have been bought by somebody, which name can be easily traced. The fact that all this has not happened raises many doubts.

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  • Parhakoo
    Mar 11, 2013 - 12:23AM

    Quite fair and balanced. The other article on black Prado almost seemed to insinuate that it is a hoax. For crying out loud! As you have mentioned here, misuse of green number plated vehicles is independently confirmed as well. The fact that people are choosing NOT to report these instances to police only begs the deeper question of Why. Isn’t it reflective of our collective and abject lack of confidence in their abilities and willingness to put an end to this? Poor journalism in the last article on this topic.

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  • Faisal Taki
    Mar 11, 2013 - 1:17AM

    Shoaib Suddle is a retired police officer along with many other good retired police officers who were equally competent in controlling law and order.

    It is really ironic why of ALL the people, you mention Shoaib Suddle twice.Recommend

  • Gem
    Mar 11, 2013 - 2:06AM

    Lame

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  • manto
    Mar 11, 2013 - 2:44AM

    I loved the line, this has been independently confirmed lol

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  • Tariq Hasany
    Mar 11, 2013 - 7:20AM

    Siddle is the only solution. Bring that Mach man back who can fix few big shots.

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  • valkyrie
    Mar 11, 2013 - 10:50AM

    Govt number plates MUST BE BANNED!

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  • Bitter Truth
    Mar 11, 2013 - 12:26PM

    The one line solution is the only solution .Local policing .
    You choose your own police commander for your neighborhood like done in the NY and all other megacities .
    A SHO and a Ranger Captain imported and placed from some unknown place who are jsut here to ogle on the female folks and to earn as much as they can , are not here to maintain peace or justice .

    So now we understand why the Waderas were against the Local Govt system .

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  • Zm
    Mar 11, 2013 - 3:59PM

    If 80% of our police force are with the VIPS and government officials how can the government control Crime Ratio. increase their salaries so they dont take small bribes, proper training center should be established, Install CCTV on every intersection and ofcourse develop a sub police group RAPID FORCE highly trained like our SSG.

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  • Ayaz
    Mar 11, 2013 - 5:31PM

    May be it’s time our city needs a B.O.P.E. too.

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  • John the Baptist
    Mar 11, 2013 - 6:38PM

    Vote for PTI. Get rid of this filth.

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  • Mar 30, 2013 - 12:30PM

    Interesting & informative information about Corolla Car in Karachi.The days passed when travelling in private cars.

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