KARACHI: Youths of Karachi are now fed up with the growing lawlessness in the megacity and they would put a strong resistance if the authorities concerned failed to improve the law and order, said the speakers of a protest demo of youth against the street crime, organized by Alternate, a youth organization, in front of the Karachi Press Club (KPC) here Sunday. It was led by Alternate organizer Aqib Hussain and Shaima Baloch.
The speakers National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) general secretary Nasir Mansoor, SITE Labour Forum leader Riaz Abbasi, Progressive Writers Association Joint Secretary Comrade Sajjad Zaheer and Home Based Women Workers Federation HBWWF leaders Zehra Khan and Saira Feroze Khuhro, Qazi Khizar from HRCP, and Saeed Baloch form PFF asked the government to get returned all snatched cars, bikes and mobile phones or their compensation.
They said an independent commission comprising respectable citizens should be formed to review the performance of law enforcers and forward recommendations regarding their future course of action. They asked for better training of police and raising awareness amongst them for human rights. They said citizens committees should be formed at police station level to help improving law and order.
Aqib Hussain said that the provincial government has left the millions of Karachiites at the mercy of criminals and killers. He said powerful mafias have been targeting citizens’ life and property. He said roads and streets of Karachi have virtually become killing fields for the Karachiites. He said the law enforcement agencies being paid from the taxpayers’ money have become powerless before the criminals. He said the citizens are compelled to think that the criminals are being patronized by the law enforcers.
He said thousands of policemen are deputed in Karachi and for their assistance, rangers have also been deployed here for decades, but despite this more than 6000 street crimes, murders of 365 citizens, snatching of 20000 mobile phones and 37000 motorcycles is a big question mark on the performance of these law enforcers. In some cases, innocent citizens were killed by vested interests due to negligence of police and administration. Its recent example is lynching of two young men in Machhar Colony and target killing of a youth in Manghopir area, he said.
Young YouTuber Sajid Afridi said that the doors of education and employment were closed for the youth, the powerful classes had overpowered the society, especially the youth, on the basis of beliefs, language and ethnicity. The state was imposing anti-democratic reactionary ideas on the society in a planned manner due to which fascist thought was being embedded in every sphere of life.
Labor leader Himmat Phulpoto said that in these worst economic and social conditions, armed street criminals were roaming around Karachi fearlessly and playing with the lives of citizens. This situation had made the citizens mentally ill.
Young garment worker and leader of Alternate, Iqbal, said the Karachiites are being deprived of the basic facilities of life. Education, healthcare and public transport have been commercialized. Half of the megacity is deprived of clean potable water. The KE has plunged the megacity into darkness. Due to lack of planning the megacity is being converted into ruins. Price hike and inflammation have made the life of the poor masses miserable. In these circumstances, roaming of armed criminals freely in City Street was alarming.
The demo participants demanded that the killers of citizens and their patrons should be immediately arrested and punished as per law. They asked compensation of Rs5 million each for every slain citizen. They said the locals should be recruited in police and it should be linked to elected local government institutions. They asked to form a Public Safety Committee to improve liaison between them. They demanded free education and healthcare and affordable public transport and potable water for the Karachiites.
They asked for nationalization of the KE and giving it under the control of city government. They asked to give employment to jobless youth and reinstate the forcibly sacked workers. They asked to develop parks and playgrounds to give healthy recreational facilities to the youth.