Triggers to tragedy

Law enforcers need to be held accountable for their acts and penalised under the law.

Editorial July 17, 2013
The taxi that was fired upon by Rangers. The windshield of the cab is shattered and there is a bullet hole on the driver side. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD NOMAN/EXPRESS

In recent times, we have seen too many tragedies resulting from “trigger-happiness” on the part of law enforcers. Now we seem to be seeing a new chain of similar events. In the Gulistan-e-Jauhar area of Karachi, not long before iftari on July 16, a taxi driver was killed when a Rangers personnel opened fire on his vehicle, after he failed to stop at their signal. The taxi driver was accompanied by his four-year-old son, who had gone with him to buy groceries. The child has been left deeply traumatised by the gruesome incident.

This is the third such shooting to take place in Karachi in recent times. In a city that has seen too much blood spilled already, the Rangers, through such incidents, have added to its agony by claiming yet more lives. Following this incident, the DG Rangers has suspended four personnel — but this does not appear to be enough. The victim’s shooting is, after all, not an isolated one. Last month, a young man, rushing his cousin to hospital, was shot dead, apparently after failing to stop at a signal from Rangers. Meanwhile, in August 2011, a court found another Rangers personnel guilty of murder for shooting to death 19-year-old Sarfaraz Shah.

Law enforcers need to be held accountable for their acts and penalised under the law. We certainly hope this will happen in the case of the murder of the taxi driver too, who died so unnecessary a death — bringing out protesters in Karachi. The Sindh government needs to put its foot down and not tolerate any such activities by law-enforcement personnel. Clear directives aimed at preventing the killing of innocent people must be given to both the police and the Rangers. The matter of their training should also be evaluated. Persons given guns must be trained to handle them with expertise and responsibility, so we can avoid the trigger-happy responses we see too often, adding to the death toll which continues to mount in Karachi.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2013.

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