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Centre favours ISI, IB role in Karachi action

Published Aug 30, 2013 06:14am

KARACHI, Aug 29: The federal government submitted in the Supreme Court on Thursday that intelligence agencies were required to identify the first and second line leaderships of all criminal groups in different communities in the disturbed areas of Karachi as well as of a hitherto unknown outfit, Muhajir Republican Army, so that action could be taken against them under the law.

This was stated in a report submitted to a five-judge larger bench by Attorney General Munir A. Malik, who had been asked on Wednesday to inform the court about the stance of the federal government on providing assistance to the Sindh government in normalising the situation.

The bench, which comprises Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad Khawaja, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ather Saeed and Justice Azmat Saeed, is hearing implementation of its judgment in the Karachi law and order case.

The report said the law and order situation in Karachi was in shambles when the present government took over in June. It said the city was confronted with multi-dimensional threats compounded by a rapid increase in population as over a period of time criminal gangs had matured into formidable syndicates by entering into alliances with terrorist organisations.

“Unfortunately, various facets of these syndicates have succeeded in developing political patronage in various forms,” the report said, adding that an “extremely careful and responsible handling is required to disentangle the situation”.

The report suggested that an outright major operation should be avoided in crime-infested Lyari at all costs because “it could open an additional front”. More visible security forces should be deployed in Kutchhi community-dominated areas.

In addition to the existing coordination, the report said, both Intelligence Bureau and Inter-Services Intelligence should identify the first and second tier leaderships of all criminal groups in different communities in the troubled areas. The IB, through technical and communication intelligence, including geo-fencing, should collect evidence about criminal activities of these ringleaders.

Individuals financing displaced persons in Badin or Thatta also needed to be identified. All-out efforts are needed to identify members of the Muhajir Republican Army and take action against them under the law.

The report said the interior ministry had extended full assistance to the Sindh government in utilising the strength of federal institutions, including Rangers, Federal Investigation Agency, National Database and Registration Authority and National Aliens Registration Authority.

It said the office of National Crisis Management Cell had been made functional in Karachi and a director was tasked with managing round-the-clock control room for coordination with the local authorities as well as the NCMC in Islamabad.

The attorney general said the federal government had to be cautious about meddling in the affairs of provinces after the passage of 18th Amendment and there were governments of different political parties at the centre and in the provinces.

At this, the chief justice said there might be governments of different parties, but the constitution was same for them. He regretted that a large quantity of arms and ammunition were being smuggled into Karachi through ports and supplied throughout the country, including Balochistan, but the authorities were sitting like silent spectators. There were reports that about 19,000 containers containing weapons and vehicles had gone missing, he added.

The court came down hard on the Singh chief secretary and the inspector general of police, saying they had failed to discharge their responsibilities to protect the life and property of citizens.

The chief justice got angry when the advocate general said there was a “war-like” situation in Karachi and asked him if he knew what he meant by saying so. “We will not let the democratic system to derail,” the CJ said.

The court directed the advocate general to place on record details of the assistance required from the federal government to restore law and order in the city. It also asked the attorney general and the advocate general to seek instructions from the federal and provincial governments.