Karachi was once considered to be The Jewel in the Crown of Sindh and a City of Lights, but over the years it has been battered, bruised and raped in  a gang and turf war between hardened gangsters, criminals and extremists.

Each group has been demanding a larger pound of flesh from this bleeding city, forcing its residents to flee from their homes to safer areas and over the years, the jewels of this city have been robbed and its lights have been extinguished by the blood and tears of its residents.

At present, Karachi is infested with a number of crimes, which include the usual street crimes, robberies and dacoities, which mostly target homes, banks and car thefts.

Then there are the more heinous crimes, like target killings, which are motivated by political score-settling or sectarian frenzy and kidnapping for ransom. The crime that has been introduced in the city recently is the old Chicago style ‘extortion’, known as ‘bhatta’.

All these above crimes are associated with the major cities in the world, but what is unfortunate in Karachi is, that the police are aware as to who is behind these crimes and in many cases, members of the law enforcing agencies are themselves involved.

In the past, many attempts have been made to clean up the city, by using local police to hunt down the well entrenched war lords and criminals, but without any positive results and the target killings, kidnapping for ransom, bhatta and extortion, etc., have continued unabated.

And the main reason for these repeated failures is because the police are completely demoralized, unmotivated and politicized to such an extent, that they are now beyond improvement.

This time, ‘Operation Clean-Up’ was launched with great fanfare by the Chief Minister, Sindh, with the promise that the government would free the city from the clutches of the war lords and criminals and restore peace in the city.

The CM had made the Rangers responsible for the operation and the police providing back-up support. Even Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, our Minister for Interior, had jumped into the ring and stated that:

‘It will be a ‘targeted operation’, to lay hands on people involved in four categories of crime and they include ‘extortionists, target killers, kidnappers for ransom and terrorists. Some other important decisions have also been taken’.

As to what those ‘Decisions’ were, is still not known, but they do not seem to have been ‘Very Important’, as they have not been very successful, despite the law enforcers’ tall claims, that they have arrested hardened criminals and gangsters by the hundreds.

And although the operation was well planned, it failed to achieve its objectives once again, due to the lack of political will and a focused line of action. Instead, ‘Operation Clean Up’ has created a bigger mess.

Today, the police force stands in a state of disarray and demoralized and the incidents of violent crime continue and target killings and the lack of enforcement of the rule of law is there for all to see, but according to a government statement, phase one and two have been completed successfully and now we are witnessing Phase three. It is now an established fact that all major political parties have well armed militant groups in their ranks. At the same time, the success of such an operation depends on how clean the LEAs are from the influence of the black sheep and the backing of criminal gangs by political parties.

Therefore, if the LEAs are not de-politicized and freed from political interference, than any Operation Clean Up, would be doomed to failure and would be just an exercise in futility, as half-hearted attempts are never going to give results.  As long as political parties who support these gangsters are not willing to cleanse themselves of these elements, such Operation Clean Ups would not succeed in achieving their objectives and in fact create more confusion.

The recent attack on Choudry Aslam, a brave, valiant and fearless police officer, is a sad proof of the fact that Operation Clean Up has failed to cleanse the city from target killers and criminals. His tragic death will further demoralize the LEAs and encourage the heinous intentions of the extremists and the criminals. 

What is required to cleanse this city of criminals is a Sri Lanka type full-fledged war against the gangs and mafias operating in the city, without any political interference. But unfortunately, our government does not have the political will, courage or the capacity to take such action. At the same time, our LEAs are not motivated, trained or equipped to take on the criminals, who possess high-tech weaponry and have the backing of powerful war lords.

While back at Musharraf’s sprawling farm house, NS, having failed to learn from his first ‘PANGA’ against Musharraf, in which he tried to sack the General and resulted in his government being sacked and himself being sent into forced exile, his second ‘PANGA’ against the retired General, this time, in trying to send him to jail, could prove to be just as disastrous, as it is bound to open a Pandora’s Box and expose the many skeletons and secrets hidden in its dark corners.

And if he continuous to go down this path, where even Angels fear to tread, then  he could be starting a third PANGA, this time with the entire powerful army, which could again send him packing back to Saudi Arabia. As they say, our leaders never seem to learn from their mistakes.

And now, despite the predictions of many political pundits, that the general will be allowed to leave the country, the judges of the three-member Special Court have rejected the former dictator’s appeal to go abroad for medical treatment.

As such, the die has been cast and the accused, a former COAS, has been summoned to present himself in court like a common criminal on 16th January. And if he fails to do so, then the court will issue a warrant for his arrest.

Will the General be able to avoid the inevitable, as he has done so far or will 16th be finally the Day of Judgment for the General and the beginning of another perilous, bumpy and dangerous journey for NS and his government, the next few days will tell.

 So till then, dear citizens, keep your seat belts fastened, as we are in for another bumpy ride.    

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