Apology not enough

A handful of VIPs and those connected to VIPs can jostle and bully their way into doing anything

Kamal Siddiqi August 30, 2015
The writer is Editor of The Express Tribune

We are told that the prime suspect involved in a case of firing at former cricketer Wasim Akram tendered an apology to the cricket superstar.

The suspect, Major (retd) Amirul Rehman, wrote a letter to the former Pakistan cricket captain, apologising for the “sad incident”, adding that he had to face strong opposition from his family due to this road-rage incident. “You are our national hero, our pride. How can I think to fight with you?” he wrote in his letter, with no remorse for the damage this incident caused to Pakistan in terms of image.

What had happened was that Akram’s car met with an accident on Karsaz Road near the National Stadium last month. Following a row with the driver of the other car, the guard sitting besides the driver fired at Akram’s car and before the police could arrive at the scene, the driver and the guard managed to flee.

Wasim Akram reported the matter to the police. And given his profile, there was immediate action. Within hours, the car was traced. But the vehicle that crashed with Wasim Akram’s car was not the same that the police had traced. In fact, what transpired was that the vehicle whose occupants had attacked Wasim Akram had fake number plates.

Now an apology has come forward from the actual perpetrator of the crime. Given the background of both the parties, the police is pressing for a compromise.

The police only came into action because of the high profile image of Wasim Akram, otherwise it has become the norm in Karachi to see people with guards bully others on the roads as well as at other public and private spaces.

The police has not even registered an FIR, relying on a katcha FIR so that the matter can be settled. There are a number of anomalies here. Fake number plates. Attack on a person. Hit and run. But all these will be brushed aside by the police so that a settlement is reached between the two parties.

Wasim Akram may be puzzled but this is how things are in Karachi. This is not the Punjab of Mian Shahbaz Sharif. It is the law of the jungle here. A handful of VIPs and those connected to VIPs can jostle and bully their way into doing anything. There is no law and order. The Rangers are a temporary relief in the city. They will come and they will go. The local police calls the shots and they know which side their bread is buttered.

Speaking of bread and butter, the chief minister of Sindh, usually known for his slumber, swung into action last week following the arrest of Dr Asim Hussain. Qaim Ali Shah took this as an attack on his party.

Till now, everything has been alright. But now that the noose is tightening, it seems people are waking up from their self induced naps. The PPP has nothing to show for the many years it ruled and looted from Sindh.

There is no rule of law in Sindh. Karachi has possibly the highest crime rate of any city in the region, not only in Pakistan. It is a city that has been consistently let down by its rulers and its residents.

For a brief period during the Nazimship of Mustafa Kamal there was a feeling that finally the city was rising and coming to its own. Those dreams were shattered when the PPP disbanded the city government and put unelected bureaucrats in power who went on to pick the city clean.

Today there is almost no pole left without an advertisement and no footpath that has not been encroached by advertisement hoardings. One wonders where this money goes.

A recent incident at Karachi Gymkhana may give some idea of how things are done in the Quaid’s city. A high government official wanted to increase the number of government functionaries as members to the club. When some members objected, he blew a fuse. He threatened to close down the swimming pool on grounds that it could breed dengue mosquitoes and also order an inquiry into a new building being constructed. So much for honest bureaucrats.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st,  2015.

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Pnpuri | 6 years ago | Reply VIPs are super citizens in subcontinent. They will like to break all queues and jump red light. It took an order from Indian Supreme Court to restrict mushroom growth of vehicles with red light atop which gives cars a VIP status of not paying tolls and police man on traffic duty stopping other traffic or parking your car obstructing traffic It is not necessary that vip is sitting in car. Entire family or driver alone gets VIPs status. But in Delhi we do not come across gun wielding body guards. But recently a matchet wielding SUV traveller caused injuries to a taxi driver who objected to queue braking at cng station. But I agree that action be taken against trigger happy gun man
Mohammed | 6 years ago | Reply This is not the Punjab of Showbaz Sharif, as if he created a law abiding state. Do you remember the case of the bakery worker and his daughter?
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