KARACHI, Sept 2: The Sindh government on Monday prepared a clutch of proposals to be put up in the first meeting of the federal cabinet in Karachi on targeted killings, extortion and other issues of law and order in the city, it is learnt.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is to chair the meeting, rescheduled for Wednesday, at the Governor’s House here.
While Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah presided over a meeting at the CM House to discuss the matters likely to be taken up with him by the prime minister, Chief Secretary Mohammed Ejaz Chaudhry chaired a meeting of the secretaries concerned and the police high-ups at the Sindh Secretariat to give a final shape to the proposals that could convince the federal government that the present provincial dispensation was capable of restoring peace and tranquility to Karachi and other parts of Sindh if necessary assistance was made available to it.
Informed sources told Dawn that senior police officers at the secretariat meeting mainly stressed three points on the legislative side to bring an end to targeted killings, extortion and other related crimes.
The police officers at the meeting called for an amendment to the relevant law with a view to protecting an extortion victim, explaining that in most cases fear for life prevented a complainant from approaching police to lodge a case. They suggested that under the amended law the SHO concerned, like in honour killing cases, should become the complainant in extortion cases also.
In their second proposal, the police officers emphasised that a suspect’s purported confessional statement, especially in the cases of extortion and other heinous crimes, before police should be made ‘admissible’ by courts if given before a police officer of grade 17 and above.
Under the present laws, a confessional statement given before police officer(s) has no ‘evidentiary value’ in a court of law.
The third proposal focused on a foolproof system for protection of judges and prosecutors like the one present in Latin America, especially Colombia.
The meeting also noted a lack of coordination among law-enforcement agencies. Dawn has learnt a proposal to set up a ‘task force’ to ensure an effective coordination among them was also considered at the meeting.
It was pointed out that 70 to 80 per cent of the crimes committed in the city involved use of ‘unregistered SIMs’ and vehicles with fake (registration) number plates.
It was proposed that there should be a centralised system of vehicle registration in the country and SIMs should be delivered to its user at his/her residence after verifying their identity through their CNIC.
According to sources, the police officers told the meeting that the department would need funds amounting to billions of rupees for procurement of equipment like CCTV surveillance systems and scanners as well as for other requirements of a targeted operation in the city.
A source privy to the meetings told Dawn that the provincial government might seek over Rs10 billion from the federal government for such an operation.
Besides considering the proposals, the meeting decided that around 7,000 ASIs would be recruited through the Sindh Public Service Commission or the NTS (National Testing Services) and junior police officers would be trained by the armed forces.
An official source said that initially it was proposed that 3,000 ASIs and 7,000 constables should be recruited but the meeting decided to recruit 7,000 ASIs in a transparent manner.
It was further learnt that some participants in the meeting also suggested that political leaders should be told to purge their parties of ‘rogue elements’.
CM House meeting
The meeting chaired by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah decided the SSP concerned would be held responsible for the crimes committed within his jurisdiction, said one of the participants.
According to the official statement, the chief secretary underlined the importance of coordinated efforts among all departments and institutions to restore law and order in Karachi. The participants unanimously stressed the need for ensuring recruitment in police department on merit and without any influence or pressure.
The participants gave various suggestions to curb targeted killings, extortion, encroachment of land, kidnapping for ransom and other crimes.
Besides Chief Secretary Ejaz Chaudhry, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Mumtaz Ali Shah, IGP Shahid Nadeem Baloch, Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqi and other senior officials of security agencies attended the meeting.
Karachi ADIG Ghulam Qadir Thebo told Dawn that the police had already launched a crackdown on criminals on Aug 29 and arrested 607 alleged hit-men and extortionists and other criminals so far in scores of raids across the city.