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A state of lawlessness

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There would hardly be a day when the newspaper reader would not come across the sorry tales of target killings, sectarian murders and of dead bodies dumped in gunny bags or simply lying on the road to putrefy and, of course, mysterious disappearances. While there are certain places usually associated with these incidents, crimes of all kinds also keep occurring all over the country.

People get killed or wounded every day in defending their properties against the trigger-happy thieves and robbers and lose their livesí savings in the process. Stories of bank heists causing loss of millions, holdups for vehicle lifting and an unaccounted for number of cell phone and purse snatchings form part of the daily fare of the reader. Status in society is no bar to falling victim to these crimes.

The rich, in particular, fall in danger of getting abducted for ransom. This list of crimes or disregard of law is by no means complete. There are as minor offences as traffic violations and as serious as defiance of judicial verdicts. And if we add the deadly drone strikes now occurring in the countryís tribal belt almost every day, the authorities appear to be a picture of complete helplessness, as the Parliament Committee on National Security is reported to have said that its repeated plea to the US for putting an end to drone attacks has gone unheeded.

Nine persons fell to the bullets of the target killers in Karachi on Monday alone. The massacre of fellow Karachiites has become so common that they do not even feel shocked; only the bereaved are left to wail. And to be honest, the Karachiites are not impressed by the rulersí rhetoric of demanding immediate and condign punishment to the offenders. Thus, President Zardariís displeasure at the working of the law enforcement agencies in the context of Mondayís bloody events does not provide any comfort, neither to the friends and relatives of victims, nor other Pakistanis.

At Parachinar, a passenger bus was stopped, and the criminals mowed down four persons of a religious party and wounded nine others. In Balochistan, the unfortunate province known for disappearances and the discovery of tortured bodies, Monday was particularly frightful. Attack on a police van killed two, seven lost their lives in other incidents and three bodies were found in gunny bags. A drone attack left four dead in North Waziristan, bringing the fatalities this year to 90.

No doubt, crimes are a part of modern life but when they go unpunished, as in this country, they flourish. The rulers must remember that security of life and property is the first requirement they are supposed to fulfil. If the resources already available are put toproper use the situation is bound to change.

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