After the APC on the Karachi issue, the subsequent decision to launch an operation was greeted by the public with newfound optimism, and the police and rangers began the cleanup job with gusto. Daily reports of mass arrests of suspected militants and criminals, alongside the constant presence of the rangers gave some people faint hope that change was coming. But almost a year into it, and the joint efforts of the police and the Rangers have achieved nothing significant. The body count increases on a daily basis, with over seven dead and more injured on Sunday out of which only two were suspected militants. If anything, the constant target killings of policemen around the city, with two shot on Sunday tell us that something is terribly amiss.

The government’s decision to implement Article 245 means that, in a bid to bolster security, the army will be deployed for protection in major cities. But before we welcome the army as saviours to take control of security in cities like Karachi, it would be prudent to do a quick analysis of what non- police, paramilitary institutions have achieved in these areas: nothing. What has the FC achieved in Balochistan one might ask? Or the rangers in Karachi? Though Altaf Hussain has pledged his support to the army in NWA, how the MQM will behave with the army in their political centre, is difficult to predict.

The fact that our police force desperately needs reform has been well known long before the operation was initiated, and their lack of the most basic investigative skills makes them nothing more than glorified sentries. The problem of security however, will not be solved by simply allowing the army to bring their big guns to the fight. Karachi will continue to be a den of all things criminal unless it has a police force that is both well-equipped and well trained in all forms of police work, in an investigative capacity as well as being able to hold their own in a gunfight. The words, ‘unidentified assailants’ are used because the police has repeatedly failed to identify them; it is institutional failure fed to the public as a fact. Unless somebody doesn’t make it their business to crack down and get to the bottom of things, no amount of manpower, from the army or the police, will make Karachi safe again.