Satellite imaging and bullshit in Karachi

Rehman-malik-2009-1-18-5-49-4

(Photo stolen from AP)

So, as Karachi continues to burn from the ongoing politico-ethno-sectarian violence (or “target killings”), Interior Minister Rehman Malik has just announced a new weapon in the government’s arsenal to hunt down the culprits: Satellite Imaging. Yes that’s right. According to the Express Tribune:

Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Saturday said that the government has officially hired the services of satellite imaging experts to tackle the situation in Karachi.

The government decided to hire the experts keeping in view the rise of target killing incidents in the city.

That sounds great! Once we get the satellite imaging system up and running, there will be no way that those target killers will be able to escape the hands of the law…. Except that we’ve apparently been using this satellite technology for at lease seven months now, and obviously it has not stemmed the violence at all.

Yes, when I read the Express Tribune article today I remembered editing some footage of Rehman Malik months ago in which he said something similar. A quick google search revealed I wasn’t wrong. According to a Daily Times article dated March 23, 2010:

He said that if those involved in target killings think they could escape after committing their crime, they are wrong since they are being watched closely and a satellite watching system is also being maintained for this purpose.

Now, some of you may have thought he was bluffing about having this hi-tech technology. That’s why Malik also added:

I am not just scaring them, but I mean business

In fact, the honourable Interior Minister has been trying to scare away criminals with the threat of satellite technology since at least January! Quoting a story on Geo.tv published on January 9, 2010:

The Interior Minister said satellite system is also being used for carrying out monitoring.

All of this pisses me off. It is the same thing over and over again every few weeks. Political violence breaks out in Karachi –> Rehman Malik comes to Karachi and holds meetings with MQM and ANP –> Rehman Malik announces that those criminals will not be tolerated –> Rehman Malik flies back to Islamabad.

He never tells us anything new about what will be done to bring the violence to a halt permantly, but just promises to deals with the “miscreants” with an “iron hand”. I don’t blame Rehman Malik for everything that goes wrong in Karachi, but as the Interior Minister of Pakistan, he (and all other government officials) need to be held accountable to what they say.

To that end I did another google search and put together a timeline of what Rehman Malik has said about ending violence in Karachi. You can see it here: Timeline: Rehman Malik on Karachi Violence.

The timeline contains just the first twenty quotes that I could find. It would be nice if this could be done for all government officials. (Google has a great tool for that, but it doesn’t work for Pakistan just yet: Google In Quotes)

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