KARACHI, March 3: Removal of no-go areas, depoliticising of police and deportation of illegal immigrants from the city are vital for the restoration of peace to the city, said speakers on the second day of a conference held here on Sunday.
They said political will was needed for deweaponisation of the city and an operation against criminal elements without any discrimination to improve law and order situation in Karachi. A declaration was also adopted at the end of the two-day ‘peace conference’ held at the Arts Council and organised by the Sindh High Court, Karachi and Malir bar associations.The conference was held to gather suggestions from representatives of difference segments of society for the restoration of peace to the metropolis.
The speakers belonging to political parties, human rights organisations, civil society, legal fraternity, police and other professions said that the entire country was plagued with terrorism and Karachi was the worst-hit as lives and property of people were always at risk here.
It was the constitutional reasonability of the state to provide protection to citizens and enforce law, but the state was either unwilling or unable to improve the worsening law and order situation in the city, they said.
Things were getting from bad to worse since nobody was ready to take the responsibility and everyone was passing the buck, they added.
Senior politician Meraj Mohammed Khan said that it was the responsibility of the police to protect citizens, but a major part of the police was reserved for providing security to VIPs.
He said that dialogues with the Taliban should not be initiated until they recognised the country and its constitution as required under Article 5 of the Constitution.
The additional inspector-general of police, Ghulam Shabbir Sheikh, said that political parties were sheltering criminals and an alarming increase was witnessed in killings in Karachi during recent years.
“Every killing is a targeted killing,” he said and pointed out that strike calls were also destroying peace of the city as a law and order situation was usually created through violent acts on the eve of strike day and during the strikes.
He said delay in hanging of condemned prisoners was also a factor behind violence as prisons were nothing for criminals and the prisoners were controlling crimes from behind bars and non-execution of the capital punishment was prompting revenge among relatives of the victims.
Yousuf Masti Khan of the National Workers Party was of the view that law and order situation of the city was a political issue because most areas of the metropolis were under the control of political parties.
Arson attacks, forced closure of businesses and education institutions, damaging public and private property were mostly carried out during strikes called by political parties, he added.
Former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Yasin Azad said that investigating agencies were well aware of the culprits involved in crimes, but they were reluctant to apprehend them since they were under political influence.
He condemned the ethnic divisions and said it must be ended for sake of peace.
The president of the Sindh high court bar association, Mustafa Lakhani, said that if any political party refused to disband their ‘armed wings’, they should be barred from taking part in elections.
He said that political influence in police department was one of main reasons behind deteriorating law and order situation in the city.
Some other lawyer leaders, representatives of political parties, human rights and labour unions also spoke.
The declaration passed in the conference asked all political and religious parties to play a responsible role and dismantle their ‘militant wings’.
The declaration also called for an indiscriminate operation against criminals, declaring display of weapon a non-bailable offence and freeing police department from clutches of politics.
It recommended legislation to make police accountable to public, removal of no-go areas, taking on those out of national politics and running a state within a state, Karachi be made free from illegal immigrants, political or religious parties who give calls for strikes be held responsible for any damage, loss of lives and property during the strike, old areas and katchi abadis be regularised and cantonment areas should be given to civil administration.