Pakistan has seen its fair share of vigilantism, which has at times ended up causing deaths of innocent people instead of bringing criminals to justice. Murders are committed by angry mobs or incensed family members over presumed blasphemy or for honour. Unfortunate thieves might find themselves caught by people who prefer to beat them up rather than letting the police take charge. This rough-and-ready justice is appealing in places where the law does not rule supreme and the law-enforcement agencies’ ability to apprehend criminals and appropriately punish crime is not trusted. It seems that the IG Sindh too believes this to be the case. On August 3, he gave Rs50,000 as reward to a citizen who had shot and killed two robbers in Karachi. He then went further in his appreciation by encouraging other citizens to follow this vigilante’s lead in taking up arms to fight crime. Citing the recent attack on army personnel in Karachi, he stated that criminals could have been captured with the help of an armed citizenry who have the right to use their licensed weapons in self-defence.
Perhaps the IG Sindh needs to be reminded that law-enforcement agencies exist for the purpose of protecting citizens without citizens having to take up arms for their own protection. His attention is drawn to the fact that the US, where the right of citizens to bear arms is zealously protected, has a higher rate of gun-related deaths than any other developed country. Encouraging the public to take up arms in a country where the definition of crime includes much more than what is defined as punishable under law is only asking for trouble. Personal safety is never at the top of the priority list of most our citizens and one can imagine the number of accidental deaths that could happen if more people went about with loaded weapons. As a high-ranking security official, the IG Sindh must choose his words with care lest they result in causing more harm than good to the people he is charged with protecting.
Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1157039/ill-advised-vigilantism/