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Police & rangers brutally handling civilians in Karachi.



Images of the police and Rangers brutally handling civilians in Karachi’s strike-ridden suburbs on Wednesday were flashed across the world on TV screens, and shamed the nation. The footage showed the Rangers beating up unarmed youth, forcibly entering people’s homes by knocking down their front doors with kicks and the rifle. Thursday’s national newspapers, too, carried pictures showing law enforcement personnel posing with their ‘catch’. A Rangers man in military boots stood on the legs and buttocks of a youth, surrounded by several other young people who were blindfolded, handcuffed and forced to lie flat on the ground with faces down. The camera caught other gun-wielding officers looking unashamedly proud of their accomplishment. This was not Iraq or Palestine under occupation, but a street in Malir.

No one can condone hooliganism, stone throwing or burning of petrol stations and vehicles by protesters, as seen in Karachi on Monday and Tuesday; but excessive highhandedness with which the law enforcement personnel brutalized unarmed civilians on Wednesday must also be viewed with a sense of shame. Such a gung-ho style of law enforcement can only strengthen elements harbouring ulterior motives, or those wishing to extract political mileage out of anti-establishment feelings fostered by the growing number of educated, unemployed youth. As it is, many in our urban sprawl are condemned to live without basic amenities, social services or security of life and property. They cannot be blamed for venting their anger at a situation that leaves them with little hope or dignity. The Sindh government must rethink its handling of the law and order situation obtaining in the province, especially when local elections are just round the corner.