Gunmen kill mother, sister of top Pak official



    The killing of the mother and sister of a top Pakistani official in a hospital once again underlines its slow slide into lawlessness. That gunmen could enter a hospital kill two people and then get away is an indictment of the security situation in the country. it appears that the two women had been killed mistakenly, and that the actual target had been a man called Rana Sarwat, a man who was allegedly involved in the kidnapping and subsequent killing of businessman Khwaja Zahid.

    It appears that those close to the killed businessman had decided to take the onus of punishing Sarwat on their own shoulders instead of going to government agencies like the police and the court. Not only does this shows a remarkable decline in the trust reposed in the government, but an alarming return to a feudal and tribal way of doing things, which entails a revenge upon the killers of Khwaja Zahid. Apparently there are alternate means of achieving grievance  redressal, either in the form of a private army or hired goons.

    Pakistan is facing a slow deterioration in its civic structure, and its institutions have been badly compromised. Violence has become endemic to the country. Blasts have targeted some of the safest enclaves of Islamabad, and reports indicate that in several parts of the country – not only in the tribal areas of FATA – but also in the suburbs of cities like Karachi, the government’s writ does not run.

    The seriousness of the problem demands an urgent overhaul of the political system, to restore accountability and trust in the government and government institutions. Sadly, the political elite seems incapable of taking any such measures. It can be argued that the problems that Pakistan faces originated in the arbitrariness of its government, and the pettiness of its politics which is rife with personal rivalries of the kind currently playing out between the military and prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. Unless Pakistan’s leaders decide to concentrate on the bigger picture, it will run the risk of being torn apart by its social divisions.

    Two women — the mother and sister of the joint secretary in Pakistan’s cabinet division — died when gunmen targeting a wanted killer pumped bullets inside a wrong room in an Islamabad hospital.

    Saleh Bibi, 60, and Bilqees Bibi, 30, mother and sister of Mohammad Ayaz Khan, were killed in the VIP Ward of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) hospital Saturday night, Geo News reported Sunday.

    The attackers wanted to kill a man named Rana Sarwat, allegedly involved in the kidnapping of a businessman for ransom but who later killed him.

    However, the gunmen targeted a wrong room, and opened fire inside it through a window, police said. The assailants fled the spot after the attack.

    Police said this was the third failed attempt on Sarwat’s life. Earlier, two attempts had been made on Sarwat’s life in the last six months. He was attacked in the Islamabad district court area but narrowly escaped. In the second attempt, he received a bullet in his shoulder. The assailant was nabbed by a group of students.

    Rana Sarwat, a resident of Lahore, allegedly kidnapped businessman Khawaja Zahid from the city. He confined him inside a house and demanded Rs.20 million as ransom, police said.

    IANS inputs