KARACHI - Rural areas in Sindh are as much affected by incidents of kidnapping and extortion as much as urban centres of the province. One of the worst affected areas in interior of the province is Khairpur, the hometown of Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, who has been put in charge of the team to bring the worsening law and order situation in the provincial capital, Karachi, under control.
Qaim Ali Shah may be effectively leading his team in the metropolis he is oblivious of the fast deteriorating security situation in Khairpur district, where kidnapping, extortion and other street crimes are on the rise. According to estimates of local leading vernacular dailies, at least twelve persons have been kidnapped and the local police have failed to recover them.
In all the eight talukas of the district, big and small zamindars have received extortion chits almost on a regular basis. The traders and shop owners in these talukas – Khairpur, Kingri, Subodero, Gambat, Thari Mirwah, Nara, Kotdigi and Faiz Ganj – are getting chits of extortion. However, the extortion chits being issued in these eight talukas are different from the ones being received by traders and businessmen in Karachi. In these talukas, the extortionists demand extortion in the form of cell phones, expensive Boski cloth, and cash.
These incidents are being reported by the vernacular dailies each day but Qaim Ali Shah may be ignoring these events only to tell the people that everything is okay and the law and order situation is in control in his home district.
It is interesting to note that Khairpur had a good number of industries in the post-independence era and these industries allegedly suffered when Qaim Shah was given the portfolio for industry during ZA Bhutto’s tenure. These facts were stated in reports carried by the vernacular dailies.
But the most shocking part of the fast deteriorating law and order situation in some parts of interior Sindh, which had remained religiously tolerant, is rise of religious extremism. Recently a religious leader was kidnapped and killed in Khairpur. Religious fanatics had also carried out explosions in shrines and targeted the shrine caretakers.
Political observers are of the view that Qaim Ali Shah is concentrating only on Karachi because it is politically more profitable for his People’s Party.
If the situation in the district of Khairpur and elsewhere in the interior is not addressed immediately or on time, the condition would worsen and become a major headache for law-enforcers. Time has come for Qaim Ali Shah to be fair in addressing the law and order situation in the province in a transparent and impartial manner. If he fails to do it now, his government will further sink into a quagmire from where it would be difficult to come out, analysts said.
Qaim Ali Shah must remember that Karachi is just one part of the province and he has the responsibility to look after the welfare of the citizens of the entire province from Karachi to Kashmore. Instead of wasting his time in shuttling between Karachi and Dubai to get orders from the PPP supremo, he should shift his attention towards good governance.
During the past four months since the elections of May 11, his government has not done anything except sitting cozily in its air-conditioned chambers and distributing influential portfolios to the party members who are allegedly minting money at the cost of peoples’ woes.