It was a very unique strikes in its nature, though very successful but difficult to differentiate, because literally everybody has supported this strike including business community, political parties, terrorist, extortionists and Government as well. What message it gives to the rest of Pakistan, that the entire population of Karachi is involved in extortion or they all are falling victims to extortion and kidnapping. Then the question arises!! where is the Government?
However, lets talk about today’s strike call, yes all the major Markets across the city remained completely closed, this call was given due to increased threatening calls by extortionists to the traders and business community while Karachi being the financial hub of Pakistan. That reflects the deteriorating law and order situation in the city and the failure of the Government writ. Unfortunate is on refusing to pay desired amount of money; traders are killed while the parties with heavy mandates are least bothered. The only demand of the Business community is arrests of criminals who are the major hindrance in smooth running of business but a life threat as well. 8 to 10 cases of kidnapping are being reported on average and millions of rupees are being extorted on regular basis.
Karachi is Hub of business in Pakistan and such activities create havoc in business; furthermore bringing bad name to country and effecting the foreign investments. Interestingly construction business has been effected at most by these extortionists; while this very business brings out the maximum job opportunities to the labors, involving almost 28 industries at one time. A straight rise in unemployment is being noticed due to negatively effected sector of construction. Extortionists(bhatta mafia) and Land Grabbers who do not find it inappropriate to show their associations with different political parties demand money from the builders keeping in view the volume of the project, and in case of refusal the builders are kidnapped and released only when the ransom is paid.
The several Tajir and chamber associations of Karachi had held meetings with high-ups in Government and Karachi police time and again to curb this menace; unfortunately when the victim approaches the police and to avoids registering FIR and nominate anyone; the police officials take simple plea for not proceeding in the case. Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gilani, and the Chief Minister of Sindh have been informed about the case, but to no avail. It seems the law of the country is helpless in managing these extortionists and kidnapers while the innocent traders main taxpayers of country have no place to register their complaints.
The security situation in Karachi has worsened this year: 260 people have been killed in target killings in the first quarter of 2011, revealed in quarterly report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
However the politician (can not justify their sin by just joining the strike call) and the government of Sindh and Pakistan must dispassionately assess the situation and act with determination. Government also should display magnanimity and take all political parties into confidence; no mater how much the difference one may have with each other on their political fronts, yet there should be no difference of opinion on the issue of Law and Order in the City.