KARACHI: The government imposed a ban on People’s Amn Committee on Monday a day after Sindh’s former home minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza had announced to revive its activities.
The committee has often been blamed for being linked to criminal gangs operating in Karachi’s old areas, including Lyari.
A senior official said the organisation was banned by the federal interior ministry on the basis of a ‘recommendation’ of the Sindh home department.
He made it clear that banning an organisation was a federal subject and the action was usually taken on the ‘advice’ of the province concerned.
“The People’s Amn Committee has been banned under the Section 11-B of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997,” a senior official said.
“With this, all activities of the committee would be unlawful. Similarly the organisation would not be allowed to have any office or organisational structure in any part of the country. Anyone found to be defying the law would face action in line with the defined laws.”
Dr Mirza said on Sunday that the People’s Amn Committee would be revived and it would now play a more active role for people’s ‘welfare’.
He also challenged Interior Minister Rehman Malik to visit Lyari and ban the committee.
In February 2011, leaders of the committee voluntarily dissolved its organisational structure and announced its merger with the Pakistan People’s Party.
However, violence and clashes mostly on ethnic basis kept the committee active, often working against the official PPP policy of reconciliation with the MQM.
The MQM blames the committee for its involvement in incidents of kidnapping for ransom, extortion and target killings.
“The Sindh government believes that the activities of the People’s Amn Committee remain a threat mainly to peace in Karachi,” said a senior Sindh government official, who confirmed having received a copy of the notification issued by the interior ministry.
He said police and provincial authorities had ‘considerable amount of evidence’ that suggested the committee’s links with criminal elements.