Ref: LETTER TO EDITOR Date: APRIL 10, 1998


The citizens of Karachi are beset by the scourge of vehicle snatching. The daily figures are overwhelming while the administration has miserably failed in curbing this menace. Now, it seems that the prayers of the harried citizens may be answered because Jameel Yousuf, Chief of Citizen-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC), and his band of dedicated volunteers have taken upon themselves the task to control this plague. These volunteers, who are primarily businessmen and industrialists, brave the scorching heat, the highly toxic carbon monoxide, the deafening noise pollution, and the risks of the roads, all in an effort to help the denizens of Karachi.

However, there are plenty of Karachiites who still feel insulted and their ego bruised, if their vehicles are stopped by the "car-checkers". One volunteer gave out some details about the "attitude" of the respected citizens. He, alongwith a DSP, an excise inspector, an expert in identifying chassis numbers, and a few traffic policemen, were on a long and arduous duty flagging down vehicles during snap-checking, that were same as those models that were recently stolen, or were, according to the rules, in violation of the relevant Acts.

They stopped the car of an Hon'ble judge of a superior court who did not comprehend the "audacity" of the checking staff stopping his car. The CPLC member told him in civilized terms that as the defender of the law, he should ensure that his vehicle was "kosher". The next person who flouted his weight was the head of a governmental organization that dealt with the well being of the workers of Sindh. Then came an officer of the Frontier Constabulary who very strongly admonished the staff in no uncertain terms, took out his communication equipment, and called up his superior who was a high ranked Commander. This Commander informed the staff that the FC official was on a super confidential mission and they should let him go in a jiffy. The CPLC person, of course, told him that the vehicle must and will be checked and only then will the FC guy be allowed to proceed. Another high-nosed person was some businessman who demanded that the CPLC person inform him where Jameel Yousuf was and that the CPLC Chief knew him very well. Of course, the volunteer told him to go and find JY himself. His car will be anyway searched. Another businessman immediately called up a former FPCCI President who was also a former Minister. The business leader told the volunteer on cell phone that he has just come back from meeting JY, that he always supported and arranged funds for CPLC, and that the person he has stopped is a pillar of the business and industry scene, and thus should not be "disturbed" but allowed to proceed.

There were other persons too, who did not appreciate being stopped by the team. The checking team, of course, was well advised by Jameel Yousuf to be very courteous, very humble, but strict. This attitude paid off dividends and there were some "ordinary mortals" who were very cooperative and provided all the relevant information to the team. What was really pathetic was the behavior of the "more-equal-than-others" who should have been in the forefront in cooperating with the checking team. What was really pitiable was the airs these revered people put on, just to prove that they are so sacrosanct, so holier-than-thou, and so venerated, that they just cannot do anything wrong. What was really rude about these pillars of society, the sanctified jurist, bureaucrat, business leader, uniformed officer, or industrialist, that they want to be spared of being inconvenienced for even a lousy moment by anyone. Pity the tormented city of Karachi where there are citizens like these.

The prayer of the people of Karachi is that may Almighty Allah give strength and courage to Jameel Yousuf and his CPLC team for truly being the saviors of Karachi, for being the channel thru which the citizens can get justice, and for being the only desired angels on earth to whom the citizens can go for aid and succor from the kidnappers, the car-snatchers, and the devils of the city. CPLC: The Last Great Hope!