Bilal Shaikh became the fourth senior security man of the Pakistan Peoples Party to be killed since 2008. Mr Shaikh, 45, the chief security officer for President Asif Ali Zardari, died when he was attacked apparently by a suicide bomber, while on his way home from the Defence area of Karachi. He had stopped at a fruit vendor’s shop along the way when the blast occurred.
The police are still investigating the exact nature of the incident and precisely what happened. They believe a suicide bomber may have approached Mr Shaikh and detonated the device as he got close to him. Mr Shaikh’s police guard and a vendor were also killed in the blast, which injured around a dozen other people.
Mr Shaikh had been targeted before, most recently by Lyari-based gangs, according to the police. It is, of course, impossible to know who is behind the latest incident. Immediate condemnation has come in from the presidency, and the PPP patron-in-chief, Bilawal Bhutto, who described Shaikh as a fighter for democracy. The killing of a man central to the safety of the president is clearly a matter that needs careful investigation. Indeed, this holds true for all the security men killed before him as well. We still do not know why Khalid Shahenshah, the man in charge of Benazir Bhutto’s security at the time of her assassination in December 2007, was killed, some months after that. Finding out the perpetrators of these crimes could be crucial for more reasons than one.
But what the killing does highlight is the fact that law and order remains dismal as ever across the country and notably in Karachi. Lives are simply not safe; we do not know when someone will be felled or by whom, and this is a disturbing situation. It is important that investigators get to the bottom of the Bilal Shaikh murder. Learning the full facts could help us understand the dynamics of crime in our country and as such help bring down the violence, which has literally led to hundreds of deaths over the past years. Many of these, even now, remain shrouded in mystery — adding to the continuous uncertainty we face.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2013.
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