SC orders to apprehend more than 33,000 absconders in Karachi

Published September 20, 2013
Director General Rangers, Coast Guards leaves after hearing of Karachi unrest case at Supreme Court’s Karachi registry on Friday. – PPI Photo
Director General Rangers, Coast Guards leaves after hearing of Karachi unrest case at Supreme Court’s Karachi registry on Friday. – PPI Photo

KARACHI: Expressing annoyance over the inability and failure of police in arresting absconders involved in heinous crimes, Pakistan’s top court Friday ordered all responsible officials to apprehend them immediately.

A five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justices Jawad S. Khawaja, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, resumed hearing of the Karachi law and order implementation case at the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry.

Prosecutor General of Sindh, Shahdat Awan placed before the court a report stating that over 110,000 are absconders in the Sindh province since 2007, out of which 33,665 are in Karachi, while about 1,486 persons involved in terrorism activities are also on the run.

The bench was astounded by the report that such a large number of criminals were left to roam on the streets.

To a query of the court, IG Sindh Police Shahid Nadeem Baloch said that he had started a campaign to arrest all such absconding criminals. The bench was irked with his statement, saying if he had made concentrated effort, he would have brought to book all such criminals earlier.

The chief justice also enquired about absconders, who were released under the garb of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). He was informed that about 12,734 accused took advantage of NRO.

Chief Justice Chaudhry said observed that crime rate could have decreased if the police had shown a little sincerity and police department had been purged of politics.

The bench directed the provincial police chief and all responsible police officials to track down the absconders and put them behind the bars. It observed that the city was awash with illicit arms.

The bench observed that despite lapse of two years since issuance of verdict over law and order in Karachi in 2011, the provincial government had not undertaken the task of verifying license of arms issued for the Karachi.

It directed the provincial and federal government to take extraordinary efforts to control the illegal arms in the city. The bench expressed annoyance over fact that functionaries who were dealing with the current situation in the city did not have knowledge about the statistics of arm licenses issued during the last five years.

The chief justice directed the provincial government to collect the figures of licenses issued during the last five years and launch a campaign for verification and scrutiny of the arms licenses.

The bench further issued directives to the government to ask masses of the city to surrender the all kind of arms for the scrutiny within period prescribed by government and after the completion of such period, rangers and police be given task to recover the unregistered and illegal weapons.

The court observed that over 2.5 million aliens were living in the city and in order to attend the issue, it pointed out a mechanism, but no action was taken to register illegal immigrants.

The bench directed the provincial and federal authorities to look into the matter and observed that it was one of the major facts disturbing the peace in the port city.

The court also sealed the reports submitted by federal government and rangers pertaining to the ongoing targeted operation in the city.

The bench appreciated the performance of the law enforcing agencies in maintaining the law and order situation and instructed the provincial government to ensure the sustainability of the law and order.

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