With public confidence in Pakistan’s army very low, especially after Osama bin Laden was found living in one of the country’s most heavily militarised areas, it did not need a film being shown on television to damage its reputation further.
The pictures are graphic, and not for the faint-hearted.
Paramilitary Rangers stopped the apparently unarmed Sarfaraz Shah in Karachi and after what seems to be an attempted arrest, shot him dead as he pleaded for mercy.
The rangers initially described Shah as an “armed criminal”. His family is distraught. The cameraman who filmed what is being described in one newspaper as an “extra-judicial killing” has received death threats, and the Supreme Court is investigating.
It comes on the heels of the seeming ease with which a small group of militants besieged a key naval air base, and the torturing to death of a prominent journalist who reported al-Qaeda was behind the attack.
Protesters say the army and police are out of control, above the law, incompetent and unable to protect the people or even themselves.