While a stream of investigation reports, and revelations depicting Karachi’s real picture, earlier hushed up by the previous setup are now being uncovered, factors fuelling violence are becoming more evident. As Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry told the police officers during the Karachi law and order proceedings that heads will roll, the stern tenor had the intended effect. It made some of the officers – otherwise tight-lipped – open up. The revelations were incredible though lacking the element of surprise. Since already extraordinarily wracked by crime and turmoil, it, however, didn’t come much of a shock to hear that there are seven forbidden areas in Karachi. The only difference was that in earlier proceedings, the police was reluctant to own up to the reality. One of the SHOs related how political parties were backing up dacoits inside these areas. Another officer had the court’s attention with his jaw-dropping finding that 30 percent of the city was plagued with crime. These revelations were received by Justice Chaudhry with the right response. His remarks that if senior police officials wanted they could clean up these no-go areas in a matter of hours reflects poorly on the forces’ morale. The court ordered the authorities to arrest the culprits named in the Joint Investigation Team’s report. Reports that major political parties based in the province are patronising the criminals is now in the court’s knowledge. We hope that justice will be fully applied.

As the elections are getting closer and closer, it is of utmost importance that peace is maintained in all restive regions of the city. But that should not be the sole reason. The rot of ethnic violence, criminal lawlessness, ruthless gangsters encouraged by political parties to take on the rivals -- eating away at the soul of the motherland has to be stopped, stamped out and destroyed once and for all. The citizens recoil at the thought of moving freely in the city; those who venture out of their homes whether during day or at night risk being robbed or worse still being shot by a sniper. In any case, when they go about their routine life, it is with the feeling of, ‘it could be me’ next time. Reeling from the Abbas Town tragedy, Shia community looks at their surroundings, their streets and neighbourhood in smouldering ruins. Even celebrating festivals inside their homes is now out of question. The quandary of an average shopkeeper for that matter is poignant no less; he has to live with extortionists lurking invariably around market places for whom killing any merchant for refusing to give them their cut is an ordinary affair.

This is life in the country’s nerve centre of commerce, the final resting place of Quaid and the city for which it was normal to glitter till late in the night, when in the early morning life would resume again with its usual hustle and bustle. Any resolve by any institution or quarter must morph into a practical crusade to free the city from gunrunners, thieves and thugs, if its past glory and glitter is to be restored.