Syed Talat Hussain
It was a horrific picture. A young woman transfixed with grief and completely wide-eyed looking at the dead bodies of three lawyers in the hospital mortuary. The sadness, the shock, the helplessness was writ large on her ashen face. She must be one of the relatives of one of three deceased lawyers knocked out by bike-riding killers. Perhaps she was the fiancé of the young one who was to get married in the coming weeks, or the daughter of the older one who was shot along with his son and his nephew.
Karachi is not new to killing. The city has lost thousands of innocent lives in the past many years: 800 alone in the two quarters of the last year that forced the Supreme Court to hold special proceedings in the city itself and ask the administration to nab killers. Yet nothing came out of these high-flying media activities where busy bureaucrats and politicians were shown shuffling files around and huddled in useless meetings. At the end of the day the killers stay at large. Hunting of human beings is a favourite and profitable blood sport of mafias. Karachi remains in the grip of the satans of the slaying business.
There is no country in the world, not even Afghanistan or Iraq where so many lives have been consumed by methodic violence as in Pakistan. It is for the researchers to find out whether any country in seemingly normal peace times and also theoretically under the control of popularly elected civilian government has had so much death descending upon ordinary citizens as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the last four years. I personally cannot think of a parallel from another part of the world.
The most shameful part of this ongoing tragedy is the utter shamelessness of the chief minister and his cabinet of countless ministers and advisors. They not only remain unmoved but also insist that this is about the best they can do in terms of delivering services to the population. And they are not alone in this cruelty. Their top leaders are busy elsewhere: the prime minister is involved in money scams and personal polemics with the military leadership, the president finds pinning medals on Aung Sung Su Ki a far more interesting pursuit than to do anything about a city whose sorrows have become permanent. Mian Nawaz Sharif is in London and the rest are all breathing nicely in Islamabad’s bracing climate. Indeed the only thing that is worse than terrorism is the soulless and clueless men and woman that are in control of this country.