Police in the Pakistani city of Karachi have admitted they are engulfed by a kidnapping epidemic. 104 people were officially said to have been seized for ransom by armed gangs and terrorists during 2010. As most kidnaps go unreported, the real figures are almost certainly much higher. Now the situation is even worse, and Pakistan’s City of Lights is living in fear.
But Karachi-ites aren’t sitting back helplessly. ‘Karachi Kidnap’ follows the work of the Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC), a unique task force born of widespread public disappointment and distrust of the local police. Made up entirely of volunteers working between their day jobs, the CPLC anti-kidnapping team is filling the void left by the authorities. It supports the families during negotiations, locates the kidnappers, and in some cases even brings about their arrest.
This film follows Ahmed Chinoy, the CPLC’s chief. Up to now, sensitivities surrounding abductions have prevented Chinoy from opening up to the media during a case. But in this film he gives us unique access to the families caught in a nightmare and tormented by phone calls from ruthless kidnappers. Ahmed Chinoy is the only hope many have of seeing their loved ones again.
The latest wave of kidnaps seems closely linked to the ethnic violence that is also sweeping the city: over 1500 people have been killed so far in 2011. But at its heart the kidnappings are about greed. In Karachi, Pakistan’s financial capital, money is king – and every bad guy, gangster and terrorist knows it.
29 minutes, WDR Germany/Al Jazeera English, 2011
Filmed and directed by
& Christopher Mitchell