ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani did not allow members of the federal cabinet at a meeting on Thursday to discuss the Karachi situation after Interior Minister Rehman Malik had given a presentation on government’s efforts to bring peace to the city plagued by target killings and other crimes.
When some raised hands to question Mr Malik about the presentation, the prime minister said let the all-party special committee of the National Assembly on law and order in Karachi and Quetta headed by Khurshid Shah discuss the subject and make recommendations.
The 17-member committee has met a couple of times to select its chairperson and prepare the terms of reference and will start its regular meetings next week.
According to sources, the interior minister in his detailed briefing shared with members of the cabinet interviews of arrested killers and other evidence, including pictures of torture cells and weapons and statements of victims. Some pictures showed a variety of knives used to cut limbs of victims. There was a pin-drop silence during the presentation, the sources aid.
“Seeing all this one couldn’t believe his eyes that this is happening in the city of lights where dismembered corpses were shown strewn. It appeared as if we were watching the trailer of a horror movie,” a participant of the meeting said.
Unnecessary staff had been asked to leave the meeting room when Mr Malik started his briefing.
The arrested killers in their confessions claimed to have affiliations with different political parties and said they had been specially assigned to kill people.
One of the killers recounted incidents when he had killed people who refused to make payment to his party. Another killer said he had eliminated a man who didn’t follow instructions given by his bosses. The minister said the Sindh government was going after the killers and gangsters in various areas regardless of their party affiliation.
Another minister told this reporter that if the evidence presented by Mr Malik was based on facts, “I don’t see any chance of the PPP and MQM coming together in the near future because the two parties appear to have developed serious differences over how Karachi should be run.”
“After having secured such a huge amount of evidence, if the Sindh government does not take action against the culprits it will be guilty of criminal negligence,” the minister said.
According to a handout, the cabinet asked law-enforcement agencies to take stern action against criminals across the board, regardless of their political affiliation.
The cabinet endorsed the efforts of the Sindh government to put an end to target killings and decided that durable peace should be restored in the city.
Mr Gilani expressed serious reservations over the pace of distribution of relief goods among rain-affected people. He said the federal government had released about Rs1.5 billion for the affected areas but progress on the ground didn’t corroborate this fact.
APP adds: The cabinet expressed concern over the infiltration of Afghan Taliban into Pakistan and attacks on border checkposts in Dir and Chitral.
It condemned the abduction of children from Bajaur Agency and urged the Afghan government to get them freed soon.