This is an Emergency.
The son of Sindh Chief Justice was kidnapped at 2:30 PM on June 20, 2016. The sad and unfortunate incident took place in broad daylight at an upscale and busy shopping area of Clifton. It was witnessed by dozens of shoppers, drivers and armed guards. No one came forward to help or report the matter on any emergency number to any law enforcement agency. The Sindh police got to know of this incident at 9:10 PM. Six hours and forty minutes are long enough to relocate a person 300-400 Km away from the scene of the accident. The elapsed time adds mountains of complexity to any investigation.
It is unbelievable that a modern nuclear state has such dysfunctional social and governance systems. Clearly the state has no interest in providing support or services to its ordinary citizens. There are at least two important concerns relating to this incident that merit serious introspection and reform.
Why did the witnesses refuse to inform the police and why did it take the police six hours and forty minutes to learn about such a major event? The citizens are simply too scared to have any interaction with police. There is a strong perception that a person reporting a crime would himself undergo a laborious and unfriendly process of police interrogation.
Unlike the rest of the world, Karachi has numerous emergency phone numbers. 15 for Police, 1101 for Rangers, 1102 for CPLC, 1915 for Rahnuma , 16 for fire and at least three phone numbers for major private ambulance services. A classic case of designing confusion and failure in a system.
Most countries of the world have a single phone number for all types of emergencies. The US and Canada use the same number 911 for crime, fire and ambulance. Almost all countries of Europe use 112 for all emergency situations. Is it too much to ask for a single emergency phone number that is common to all types of emergencies and all parts of Pakistan? A number that is trusted by citizens and where one is treated with respect and civility. An effective emergency system could have had a sea change impact on handling of investigation into the recent unfortunate incident.