A new year has dawned and the first few hours highlighted the fact that there is nothing new in this year also. In the days preceding the New Year there were the same old announcements from the local administration warning the population against firing into the air and other unlawful actions with the same result as with every New Year’s Eve.

This year I was hoping for better results as not only the local administration had rolled out the old rules but the top most in the land had requested the population to cancel all their celebrations in view of the plight of our brethren in Palestine.

In this background I was hoping for a peaceful midnight and even though I live quite close to the water front which somehow is the main area of such activity I went to bed early. I was half asleep when I was rudely awakened by the sound of gun fire followed by the sound of fire-crackers and some heavy fireworks.

Nothing had changed and what was going on indicated that no announcements will dent the determination of those whose minds are set on merry making in their own way notwithstanding what the authorities command. What I heard was duly confirmed by the newspapers the next day with headlines more or less indicating what transpired at midnight the day before.

One headline said “Child dies, 32 hit by bullets in New Year Celebratory firing”. Another headline screamed “Karachi rings in New Year with celebratory aerial firing” and yet another said “33 injured in Karachi due to aerial firing on New Year’s Eve”.

Not exactly the peaceful night envisioned in the background of announcements with threats of registration of cases and other stringent measures to enforce the law. The simple answer to this situation cannot be sought in the actions or inactions of a single day or in the overwhelming presence of law enforcing agencies for a few hours.

One has to carefully look at this pattern of willful disobedience of the law which is evident in all walks of life and has not only been prevalent for as long as we can remember but also ignored, tolerated and accommodated by all concerned.

The most flouted civic request is the one requested by owners of certain shops, restaurants and business centers who put up notices requesting people not to relieve themselves in empty spaces nearby. This has been the butt of many jokes and is hardly ever complied with and in desperation those affected resort to all kinds of methods including slogans like “ Look at the dog relieving itself” and other such derogatory one liners but to no avail.

Yes there is a paucity of public toilets in the city but this does not empower those in need to deface and destroy someone’s property or work space. The previous government had taken notice of this situation and ordered all petrol pumps to have clean neat toilets, which was a blessing for the people of Karachi.

If you found an unclean toilet or anyone refused you the facility you were asked to take a picture and send it to concerned authorities for action. This worked very well and considerably reduced the need to deface someone’s property.

By the way, the mere act of wall chalking is in most cases against the law but the walls of our city are overflowing with messages of all kinds. It cannot be hard to take action against those flouting the law. After all, the message clearly gives telephone numbers, names and even the exact location of the author of such messages.

Will it be wrong to say that we ourselves encourage unlawful behavior by not taking action even where the crime, the perpetrator and his or her location are clearly visible? The yearly saga of New Year’s night flouting of laws and endangering lives of innocent citizens has deep roots in the building up of a psyche that ignores laws and treats announcements from authorities as something to be ignored.

After years of living in an environment of defying laws and instructions we cannot expect the people to become suddenly law abiding for that one New Year’s night for which they have waited so long and cleaned their weapons, removed silencers from their bikes and vowed to reach the beach and welcome the new year no matter what the consequences.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

QOSHE - Flouting the law - Zia Ul Islam Zuberi
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Flouting the law

20 0
06.01.2024

A new year has dawned and the first few hours highlighted the fact that there is nothing new in this year also. In the days preceding the New Year there were the same old announcements from the local administration warning the population against firing into the air and other unlawful actions with the same result as with every New Year’s Eve.

This year I was hoping for better results as not only the local administration had rolled out the old rules but the top most in the land had requested the population to cancel all their celebrations in view of the plight of our brethren in Palestine.

In this background I was hoping for a peaceful midnight and even though I live quite close to the water front which somehow is the main area of such activity I went to bed early. I was half asleep when I was rudely awakened by the sound of gun fire followed by the sound of fire-crackers and some heavy fireworks.

Nothing had changed and what was going on indicated that no announcements will dent the determination of those whose minds are set on merry........

© Business Recorder


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