As the Supreme Court resumed hearing, on Friday, of the suo moto case about the target killings in Karachi, the Chief Justice issued a chilling warning that a situation of continued violence as it is being witnessed in the port city constitutes an open invitation to the army to step in and impose martial law. For the sake of God, act in accordance with the Constitution (to forestall that eventuality), he urged the government. It was also quite a relief to hear him add, however, that the court had barred the army from entering the corridors of power. Though a sizeable number of the population, perhaps a majority, is in favour of the government calling in the army but only to clean the mess in Karachi and then quietly withdraw, no one wants it to boot out the civilian set-up and install itself in the seat of power. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry maintained that we (the political government) have to bring the law and order situation back to normal. At almost the same time the five-member bench was busy conducting the proceedings of the court on this issue, the corps commanders, meeting under the chairmanship of COAS General Kayani, were putting their heads together to assess Pakistans security situation, but, quite uncharacteristically, did not deem it fit to issue even a brief statement at the end of their discussion. The silence has raised eyebrows among political analysts, the media and the concerned public, since it is inconceivable that Karachi, where the recent operation had not been able to put an end to the recovery of dead bodies of the people killed and tortured by unknown persons, was not on their agenda. And as certain political circles believe that the government is contemplating to take back certain powers recently given to the Rangers and restrict their mandate, the top brass must have felt greatly alarmed. It must be recalled that General Kayani had asked President Zardari in a meeting some days back for an increase in their powers, instead. It is noteworthy that whatever improvement one sees in the provincial metropolis, and the arrest of suspected criminals and the recovery of arms caches, that is obviously the outcome of greater freedom of action by the Rangers. The pity is that all this is happening while reports of a foreign hand are resurfacing with a vengeance. Secret agencies like Xe Services (formerly Blackwater) are ready tools of destabilisation by powerful states to exercise pressure on weaker states. The Karachi maelstrom affords an ideal situation for other enemy agencies like RAW, CIA and MOSSAD to fish in troubled waters. The federal and provincial governments and whosoever holds the power to control the situation must listen to the Supreme Court and take necessary measures as stipulated in the Constitution. They must not rest till things have normalised and the menace of death and destruction in the once thriving Karachi is rooted out for good.