Published in The News 17 July 2007

It is well known that the CDA warned the Aziz-Rashid brothers against illegal
construction, but the two brothers had influence in important government quarters and they continued to add to the Lal Masjid complex. This is not different from what is going on all over Karachi, where ninety per cent of all newly constructed buildings have been built without following the relevant rules.

The builders are able to indulge in violations by resorting to bribery and coercion, as they too have influence in the relevant quarters. As far as the piling up of arms in the Lal Masjid complex is concerned, this too should not surprise anyone. Everyone knows that it is unsafe to venture into certain areas of Karachi owing to wars raging between rival gangs. Where did they get these weapons? Why are drug addicts able to buy narcotics freely?

It should be obvious that all this could not have happened without the connivance of government officials. In fact, throughout the country, the state has failed to impose its writ as those with vested interests do not want it to succeed. If even now, the government does nothing, pretty soon the country (like Afghanistan) will be divided into zones controlled by warlords.

Shakir Lakhani