Monday, January 21, 2008

Succesful Policing

There are very few instances of successful policing in Pakistan and when it does happen it surprises us all. The entire country had braced itself for a violent and bloody 9th and 10th Muharram, in fact people had convinced themselves that something terrible was bound to happen and when nothing happened they were left quite speechless none more so than for the television channels.

Our intrepid reporters were intensely probed by the majestic and graceful anchors about the events as they unfolded; trouble was nothing much unfolded. And so our imperial anchors went on with serious vigour and continued their important ritual of reading from the auto cue

Anchor: "Mr. Reporter you've been with procession for much of the day what's the situation like"

The galant reporters, with a glazed look in his eyes, answers back

Reporter: "There are thousands of people here and if a bomb was to explode many would die, but a bomb has yet to explode and I've been standing here for 5 hours now so I'm going to help myself to some Sherbet and wait for the bomb to explode so that I can report on how a bomb exploded in the middle of thousands of people and killed many, over to you."

Anchor: "Thank you reporter"

5 minutes later

Anchor: "Mr. Reporter you've been with procession for much of the day what's the situation like"

The galant reporters, with a glazed look in his eyes, answers back...

The banal reporting highlighted the one dimensional state of Pakistani television reporting and of the country's fascination with, and hightened anticipation of, violence. The Muharam procession gathered, they marched and then they all went home to eat some Haleem, no blood or gore of the reporting kind so we had two days of torturous television. But there was plenty of blood and gore of the self inflicted kind (matham), which was carried by most channels as part of their religious, Muharram television and thus made for some wonderful afternoon viewing. Where was the probing report by our imperious journalists on the barbarism of such utterly inhumane acts? I'll leave that for another day.

Coming back to the point, the last two days were a success story for the police who successfully worked with the community and cooperated with Shia Scouts and other volunteers and at the end were extremely effective in preventing violence, hell they even managed to arrest someone before a bombing!

The trouble is, Karachi is an impossible city to police in its entirety and as I highlighted in the earlier post the rules of attacks are changing in Karachi. The Quaidabad bombing occurred at a site that Musharraf had crossed 8 hours earlier. The bombers couldn't carry out an attact at that time so they waited till it was possible to do so by which time the targets became people buying fruits and vegetables from the street market.

A post on Karachi Metroblog, the veracity of which I cannot confirm, depicts the ordeal of a guy whose car was hijacked by a suicide bomber. The bomber, with his hostage in tow, travelled around the city searching for a way to bomb the procession, when he couldn't he ditched the hostage and his car but before leaving he did impart some profound wisom on his victim "you're very unlucky, you lost your chance at shahadat" stated the would be suicide bomber!

We should applaud the law enforecement agencies for their bravery and their success at preventing bloodshed (of the unacceptable kind!)over the past two days but the idea that suicide bombings can be averted in Karachi by effective policing is questionable. These guys are itching for some action and if you prevent them from taking aim at their main target they might just reassess what their targets are, and that's a scary thought indeed.


Asad said...

w/ regards to the story on Karachi Metroblog, i heard a similar story about a couple here in Lahore. main difference being that the would be suicide bomber was looking for military convoys/trucks.

guess that answers the veracity question we both had.

AKS said...

thanks for that, the story does sound a bit like an urban legend. On another note, I should've linked this post with Ahsan's below as they both touch the same topic. I would've even, had I read it earlier, in any case repetition is regretted.

Ahsan said...

yeah even without hearing the same had happened in lahore, i could've told you the khi metroblog story was complete bullshit. i read it a couple of days ago and almost fell out of my chair laughing. first of all the guy starts by saying, "i have it on good authority." any time someone starts a story with that sentence, i automatically disbelieve anything else that comes out of their mouth (or computer).

the second ridiculous thing he said followed quickly, saying that the would-be suicide bomber asked for directions and consequently a lift to the imambaragh. yeah because sipah-s-sahaba or baitullah's people are just *that* disorganized, right? they can't figure out their transport scene, like a couple of 16-yr olds going to a party.

the the third ridiculous thing was the third sentence, which states "Half way though the journey, the man's coat slipped open and inside the person saw his chest was lined with explosives!" uh ok. the man's coat "slipped" open.

typical pakistani rumor mongering taken as fact. i don't believe khi metroblogs posted that nonsense. to be fair, the dude did have it on good authority.

Green Views said...

Eerie clam or calm before the "perfect storm"....I was also surprised that I wrote about it on

I am sure a person of your intellect will enjoy this article