What kind of country are we living in? This is a question I, as ajournalist, often end up asking myself as I glance through the day’s newspapers.
Consider: on the same day, there was a report of a family of fivefound murdered, in one of Karachi’s relatively affluent neighbourhoods. Then there was a report of a suicide attack in the country’s northwest in which several dozen innocent people had lost their lives. And then there was the demolition of the Osama bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, which was being done for some unknown reason, almost a year after he had been found living there and killed by US special forces.
The link in all of these stories was of violence.
In fact, the very next day, one got to read how armed men had barged into a charity hospital run by Koreans and when they didn’t find any Koreans, they kidnapped two local volunteers. These are people who are giving their time and effort to help others in their hour of need and what do we have – we have people who want to kidnap them.
Though the motive was unclear, it may be that they were working at a hospital run by foreigners and it could be a gang involved inkidnapping for ransom. In fact, in recent weeks, several such cases have surfaced in Karachi in particular, of affluent people being kidnapped and then let off after paying heavy ransom. According to local police officials, the Taliban and other extremist groups may be involved in this, as part of an effort to increase their funds through ‘alternative’ means.
The one thread that is common to all of these incidents is the absence of the writ of the state. It’s as if the government of the day has either no ability to maintain law and order, or is simply not interested. I am no critic of the PPP but the occurrence of such incidents at an alarmingly frequent rate makes one think that governance is the farthest from the present government’s mind.
In the end, the losers are ordinary Pakistanis, who must wait for a government that can at least provide them a semblance of security and protection.