By Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan
March 19, 2008
Journalists were thrashed by the security officials in front of National Assembly of Pakistan as they were covering the proceedings of the assembly.
Police guard the main entrance of the National Assembly during the election of its speaker in Islamabad March 19, 2008. Pakistan’s National Assembly elected its first woman speaker on Wednesday, a member of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) which won elections last month.
REUTERS/Mian Khursheed (PAKISTAN)
Journalists working in tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border have also been receiving threats from Taliban and terrorists, who have been ruling the areas nowadays.
So far several journalists were either killed by the terrorists or the security agencies in the troubled tribal areas. Situation in other parts of the country is not different as there the journalists have been facing immense pressure.
The journalists started protesting outside the Parliament House, when the security personnel cut off cables of their cameras.
The journalists from various news organization including news channels came to cover the proceedings of the 13th National Assembly on the occasion of election of speaker.
Law and order situation in Pakistan has been going from bad to worst. According to a newspaper comment, rising street crime in Karachi has touched new heights. While official figures of crime in the city tell one story, the reality seems to be something much different.
Police officials and senior government functionaries would have us believe that all is well and under control but incidents of mobile phone theft, mugging and burglaries in the city have shot up in the past couple of months. Particularly affected are the commercial areas of the city as well as the business districts where men on motorcycles accost pedestrians, motorcyclists and motorists in broad daylight and rob them of their valuables.
The slightest resistance can lead to death for some as the robbers seem desperate and ready to kill if their demands are not met. In the past week, there have been several cases where people were stopped in broad daylight in full public view and robbed. In most instances, people do not bother to register cases as this is another ordeal for them.
Pedestrians have been mugged in dark street corners, women have seen their earrings snatched from their ears and purses stolen, motorists have seen their cars broken into — and yet the police seem helpless in controlling this surge in street crime.
What is worrying is the fact that the government seems to be pumping considerable amount of money and resources in law-enforcement in the city but much of this does not end up in fighting crime. A high percentage of police resources are dedicated for VIP duties as well as protecting the high and mighty.
The lack of professionalism and accountability in the police forces has also meant a rise in corruption and unprofessional behaviour amongst men who are supposed to enforce and uphold the law. As a new political government takes office in Sindh later this month, it would be a good idea to examine the role and performance of the city’s police force and other law-enforcing agencies like the Rangers.
It is time long-term reforms were introduced in the police force to change the way the force is run. At the same time, the terms and conditions of service of policemen should be improved so that they are less prone to fall for corruption.
All this, however, requires political commitment and resolve. The new chief minister must work according to the peoples’ expectations, otherwise people will continue to suffer while the police look the other way.