Placing blame on the wrong reasons

Controlling lawlessness needs a realisation of the real reason

The ease with which the law-enforcing agencies, starting with the police, try to deflect blame for increasing crime by blaming RAW, does not wash any more. One reason is that the public is not willing to buy the claim of Indian malignity, especially when the incident glaringly has some other cause. This trend is countrywide, with the Punjab police blaming RAW for the Jaranwala church burnings, and the Karachi police blaming it for the spate of crimes against property, particularly street crimes, in recent weeks. The underlying cause for both, at least the Karachi street crime, is the parlous economic situation. It is likely that young people, unable to find employment, but who want to maintain the standard of living they became used to in more prosperous times, have been committing crimes which enable them to maintain a particular lifestyle. However, the police would prefer to avoid admitting this, because it would mean conceding that their superiors in government have failed to address this issue successfully.

One problem with this attitude of passing the blame across the border is that it prevents an identification of the real cause, and distorts both the actual investigation as well as the recommendations the police might make to the government. In short, it leads to sloppy police work. It also reflects a desire to pass on the blame for an incident, rather than the desire to catch the perpetrator which should be, but is not, the hallmark of police professionals. It is likely that the police will move on to some other excuse, more palatable to the public, rather than pursue the real reasons for these crimes.

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Police forces must settle down to a less exciting time than the War on Terror, when apart from RAW, there was also the Afghan intelligence agency, which could be blamed for any police failure. Those committing crimes are domestic actors, who have domestic reasons. It is the job of the police to identify and capture them. That they have not been doing, and trying instead to shift the blame as far as possible, preferably across the border. They should get down to doing their job instead, of keeping the citizenry safe.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].


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