In an apt response to the critical situation in Karachi, as conveyed by the words, Warlords rule Karachi, used by the counsel for the Sindh government, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, before the Supreme Court on Friday, the court decided to shift the Bench to the troubled city for the purpose of holding hearings of the case on the spot. The next hearing takes place on Monday, August 29. Over the reports submitted by both the federal and provincial governments, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry expressed his dissatisfaction, and rightly so; they were not comprehensive enough to bring out the horrors the poor residents of the provincial metropolis have been exposed to in the cycle of violence that began well over a month ago. When numerous abductions, ruthless murders, with heads chopped off and packed in sacks, keep happening day after day and the authorities appear to have been struck with paralysis, the situation can rightly be described as 'breakdown of the government machinery, as Justice Chaudhry did. Inaction or half-hearted action, as the nation has been witnessing for the past several days, only leads one to think that the government might be at the back of the elements which are disturbing the peace. It must be remembered that the apex court has a limited part to play in setting things right. Its intervention in the form of suo moto notice of the killing spree in Karachi not only points to the absolute listlessness of the government in the face of the gravity of the unrest, but also underlines the need for a quick return to normalcy; but at best, it can issue orders, showing the way how to set about turning round the situation. But taking action, minding the nitty-gritty of the process, rests with the executive. It is time for it to realise that it is in its own interests to deal with the mayhem in a totally non-partisan manner. Herein also lie its future prospects as a political party. If the economy were to suffer a loss of Rs 25 billion as a result of a single day of strike, the government should be seriously worried. In the meantime, Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has outlined three valuable steps to bring calm to the restive town of Karachi. In such a complicated scenario, when the parties in the ruling coalition are engaged in protecting their turf even at the cost of the lives of citizens, it would be a little difficult for the decision makers to act against these killing gangs without any discrimination. But, as Mian Shahbaz has said, the action has to be across the board..and without fear or favour. Besides, he called for the depoliticisation of the law enforcement agencies, particularly the police and the administration, and ensuring the provision of basic facilities to the citizens of Karachi. One hopes these common sense points find favour with the authorities.