Audacious Attack in Karachi’s City Court

The attack by Jundullah men to free their under trial accomplices from Karachi’s City Court is a matter of shame for the Police, Intelligence and Other law enforcement agencies. There will be a lot of blame game as to who was responsible for what but one thing has to be acknowledged that these proscribed groups are getting more daring than before. The Editorial in Dawn sheds light on the security lapses. I feel that the Intelligence Agencies should work smartly with the mobile phone operating companies and get the due assistance in tracking down these terrorists. On a lighter note, the Jundullah men’s accomplices did what the courts would have a done a little later … free them for want of evidence.

Saturday’s audacious attack on the premises of Karachi’s City Courts has once again highlighted the miserable performance of the city’s law-enforcement agencies. Three attackers said to belong to Jundullah, a proscribed local militant outfit, raided the premises to free four of their comrades under trial.

This is the same group believed to be behind the 2004 attack on Karachi’s then corps commander. The escaped suspects were facing several cases, including a case related to last December’s Ashura blast. Considering that the assailants apparently opened indiscriminate fire while lobbing grenades at the police as the suspects were being taken back to prison, it is a wonder that the number of fatalities was low.

Unfortunately, even though these were high-profile suspects, the security measures in place appear to have been wholly inadequate. Why were only two policemen guarding the suspected militants? And if reports that the accused were speaking on cellphones before appearing in court are true it speaks volumes for the level of police laxity. With such security precautions it is no surprise that the men escaped.

The Sindh police’s record in securing sensitive areas has been far from exemplary. As reported in this paper, in 2009 at least a dozen undertrial prisoners — including suspects facing murder charges — escaped from the City Courts. A security plan for the courts’ premises prepared on the orders of the Sindh High Court chief justice has been ready since February, but due to the indifference of the police and the provincial administration nothing has been done to implement it. In fact, the Sindh police’s performance has been disappointing on various counts.

Security lapses are inexcusable and the law-enforcement apparatus cannot afford to be complacent. The latest incident has shown that public places are very vulnerable to attacks as are ordinary citizens who all too frequently fall prey to ‘targeted killings’ in the metropolis. When will this state of lawlessness end? The people want answers which have not been forthcoming from the rulers who can only make hollow promises and indulge in public posturing. If the authorities are serious about maintaining peace in the city they need to take strong measures to beef up security.



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