It was never easy to get to see or even reach by phone the police chief of a city or a province. He was always said to have been summoned by the minister or the chief minister. Of late, the likely response also can be that he had gone to the Supreme Court. For more than a year now, police officials of Karachi have been reporting the ‘targeted killings’ to the judges. It was naive of the learned judges to have assumed that their intervention would deter the killers or, even less likely, prompt police officials to greater action.

The general feeling is that killings, if at all, have grown and the killers find ever new victims for their belief, ethnic background or vocation. Whatever the motive of the killers, bad luck of their victims, the SC ‘sou motu’ action, etc has not helped. The resultant despondency can be fatal. No other venue is left to seek a remedy. The problem of crime is simple to understand. It is made simpler by the report of Justices M. Munir and M.R. Kayani on the Punjab disturbances of 1953 which led to the imposition of the first martial law in a part of the country.

It ends on a poignant note: “We are prompted by something that they call a human conscience to inquire whether, in our present state of political development, the administrative problem of law and order cannot be divorced from a democratic bed-fellow called a ministerial government, which is so remorselessly haunted by political nightmares. But if democracy means the subordinate of law and order to political ends, then Allah knoweth best and we end the report.”

It is truer now than it was 58 years ago. Allah still knoweth the best. But the people also know this much that the law and order was never in greater subordination to politics than it is today.


Karachi, October 30.