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بدھ، 24 اگست، 2011

Karachi: A baffling warning

 Though there are several factors responsible for the mayhem that we are witnessing in Karachi but as per growing perception the problem has political contours. There are strong feeling that the trouble has much to do  with the political infighting as different stakeholders are trying to establish their maximum political hold on the city.

So baffling is this warning of the administration to the outlawed outfits. A meeting jointly chaired by the Sindh chief minister and the federal interior minister on the security situation in the province, particularly the port city of Karachi, has statedly warned the banned organisations, including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba, to end all their activities or face action under the Anti-Terrorism Law. What is this? For heaven’s sake, why in the first place are they still in business when they stand outlawed? Should not have the law come heavy on them long time ago to put them out of their vile trade? Why hasn’t it happened so far? If they had coined new names to remerge under new banners, could not a law have been enacted or an existing one suitably amended to act against them? In any case, it is not the names but the characters that really matter in the ultimate analysis. If the leaders and activists of an organisation after it is banned, weave up a new one, that doesn’t mean they turn saints. They remain terrorists as congenitally as were they in the past. Their names and credentials must be on the books of the law-enforcing agencies. The question is why had they not been hauled up when they were operating under the old banners and, more bewilderingly, after they had adopted new names once their old outfits were banned to carry on with their wicked trade of death and mayhem. Why were they let on the loose when in the eye of law they were very much criminals then as now? Doesn’t the law of the land prescribe action against those who commit crimes? Then why are those dark characters still roaming free, slaughtering and maiming our innocent citizens wherever and whenever they will? This indeed is quite a dilemmatic warning, to say the least. The administration just asks the outlawed outfits to end their activities on the fear of the anti-terrorism law. Does it really think they would when they have been still in their trade despite this law? So what is it that tells the administration they would harken its warning now when they have scoffed at the very anti-terrorism law so long with an uninterrupted continuation of their orgy of death dance? When will the administration know that it is not warning but strong action that alone can put paid to the ravaging thuggery of the outlawed outfits, their ring leaders and murder squads once and for all. But that is where really lies the rub.Like it or not, these outfits, banned or newly-sprung, draw their strength mainly from the wellsprings of religiosity of segments of the clerical orders, and, in cases, from the political founts as well. They are in their vile business uninhibitedly either for no peer pressure on them against it or for the patronage they enjoy from one powerful quarter or the other. And they are there as the authorities have spectacularly failed to drive the fear of law in them. They are far lethally equipped than the law-enforcers. They have unending streams of money and arms supplies with the sources though unknown to the public but not so unknown to the officialdom. It is thus law that lives in fear of them, not they in fear of law. And the administration has never ever cared to reverse this horrific equation. Its warnings, even if toughly worded, are thus bound to fall on flat ears. And make no mistake, the banned outfits will keep on with their wicked business as in the past. It is action that is required, indispensably and necessarily. And it has to be a very robust and concerted action. Their leaders and foot soldiers have to be taken on with all the strength at the command of the state and their sources of funding and arms supplies have to be snapped from the very roots. And no interference from any quarter has to be allowed in any event in this task. If this doesn’t happen like this, these merchants of death and destruction will keep prowling as bloodily as are they now and as they have been in the past. The administration is now faced with a moment truth. It has to decide if it has to continue to be a paper tiger or a no-nonsensical administrator absolutely intolerant of criminals and criminality.
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