The guarantors of public safety must protect the citizens and uphold law and order
Earlier this week, the Sindh High Court dismissed the appeal of a robber against his punishment of death sentence. The appellant had been sentenced to death by the additional district and sessions court for killing two shopkeepers over resistance during an armed robbery in 2014. While SHC’s decision is a significant development, the case has dragged on for nearly nine years. During this time, street crimes and robberies have only surged.
According to the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee, more than 21,000 cases of street crimes have been reported in Karachi within the first three months of 2023. The number of unreported cases is probably much higher. Over the years, verdicts have been rescinded and convicts have been released, which has given perpetrators leeway to continue robbing people of their belongings and lives. CCTV footages documenting incidents have been released on social media, yet authorities have failed to trace criminals and recover people’s belongings. Failure of the law enforcement agencies to catch criminals and delays in conviction have eroded Karachiites’ trust in the justice system. Citizens have grown frustrated with the persistent insecurity in the city. Some have taken the law into their own hands and resorted to attacking the culprits. This sets a dangerous precedent and risks unrest in the affected neighbourhoods.
Police in Sindh have undertaken several measures including the formation of the Shaheen Force and Talash app to curb the menace, but these measures have been largely ineffective. The onus now lies with the law enforcement agencies and departments to work cohesively to trace criminals and gather evidence to present a strong case in court which can result in a harsh conviction. The courts should fulfil their responsibility duly by avoiding excessive delays in proceedings and ensuring that convicts receive stringent punishments to send a strong message to criminal elements. The guarantors of public safety must protect the citizens and uphold law and order.