Friday, March 22, 2013

Where law enforcers fear to tread: The entry fee for these spots of Karachi may be your life

So even in Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the "Land of the Pure", there are no-go zones of radical Muslims where even the Pakistani police fear to tread.  Some nice maps at the site showing the extent of the no-go zones.   


Where law enforcers fear to tread: The entry fee for these spots of Karachi may be your life

By Faraz Khan
Published: March 23, 2013


Shortly after the armed forces launched the Kalosha II operation in South Waziristan back in 2004, the crocodiles lazing in the murky natural pond in Manghopir got new neighbours. Suddenly, they weren’t the most dangerous residents of the area.

Embedded in the increased influx of Mehsud tribesmen coming to Karachi were militants who settled in Pakhtun-dominated areas of the city, attempting to blend in unnoticed. They would soon go on to disrupt the life of the city’s residents – including the crocodiles at Hazrat Khawaja Hassan’s shrine, which was closed for over a month following the bomb attack in 2010 on Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine.

“First, the hunters – the law enforcers – used to only get hurt when they dared to put their hands in the den of the lions, the militants. Now it seems as if the lions have come out of the den and are stalking the hunters themselves,” DSP Qamar Ahmed told The Express Tribune.

The militants, including Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) members, now have an iron grip over parts of the city, including Sohrab Goth, Manghopir and Ittehad Town. Over the years, they made increasingly brazen attacks, including one on Sohrab Goth police station on January 29 this year.

SHO Ashfaq Baloch of the Manghopir police station admits that it is difficult to impose the writ of the state in his jurisdiction and that standard operating procedures followed by law enforcers elsewhere in the city have to be bent – very drastically.

“When a killing occurs somewhere else in the city, a lone constable usually hops onto a motorcycle and speeds off to the scene of the crime. Here, we can’t think of doing that unless we have a death wish,” he said. “We have to make sure our weapons are loaded. Then an entire team, headed by me, gets into a police mobile. Only when we pacify the criminals that we haven’t come to apprehend them can we advance safely to retrieve the body.”

SHO Baloch added that he prefers not to send the officers on duty to pick up a body. “We often wait for a body to turn up at one of the hospitals and then head there to question the family and any eyewitnesses.” What about raids and patrols in the area? SHO Baloch shakes his head.

Article continues HERE.