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KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to introduce police and jail reforms by taking drastic measures in the light of reports prepared by federal ombudsman Salman Farooqui.

This decision was taken by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah during a meeting with Mr Farooqui at CM House on Friday. On the occasion, the chief minister recalled that he had planned to introduce the reforms just after taking over but as the problems were enormous, work on reforms had been delayed but must be done.

During the meeting the ombudsman presenting the reports to the chief minister said that his establishment had conducted a detailed survey of the facilities and issues in the prisons of the country, including Sindh. “There must be some separate treatment and dealing for juvenile and first time offenders,” he said.

Mr Farooqui also said that the reports on police said that police stations have never been given the funds allocated to them.

Those present at the meeting include former IG Malik Asif Hayat, former ambassador Aneesuddin, former chief secretary Shakeel Durani and secretary to the federal ombudsman Pir Bux Jamali while the chief minister was assisted by his adviser on law Murtaza Wahab, IGP A.D. Khowaja, home secretary Shakeel Mangnijo, and IG for jails Nusrat Mangnijo.

Vacation of 1,000 apartments ordered

The chief minister, who also presided over another meeting regarding the issues of workers at the New Sindh Secretariat, directed the divisional administration to vacate 1,000 apartments built for labourers and occupied by mafias.

In an earlier briefing, the chief minister’s adviser on labour Saeed Ghani said that around 1,000 apartments had been constructed at Gulshan-i-Maymar for industrial workers. Those apartments had been allotted to workers through balloting but possession to the worker had not been made as certain officials of the police, and other departments and private organisations had illegally occupied them.

The chief minister directed Karachi commissioner Aijaz Ali Khan to take necessary action and get the apartments vacated and report back to him. “This is not acceptable. The flats meant for workers must be given to them,” he said.

Secretary for labour Rasheed Solangi said that there were 765,000 registered / secured workers in Sindh. He added that these workers and their dependents were being provided health facilities through five hospitals, five medical centres and 39 dispensaries.

Saeed Ghani said that under ILO Conventions, universal social security may be provided to all workers/labourers even if they are self-employed such as pathara holders and push cart operators. He proposed to collect three per cent minimum wage from them to provide them with health and education facilities.

Discussing the mechanism of the implementation of the plan, he said that a ‘Benazir Card’ issued by Nadra would be given to the registered workers for availing health and education facilities. The self-employed workers would be encouraged to avail the facility through different campaigns. Since it would be to their benefit, they would prefer to contribute.

During review of the functions and objectives of Sindh Employees’ Social Security Institution, provincial EOBI and Workers Welfare Fund, which were similar, Senator Ghani suggested that all be merged into a single institution to avoid unnecessary duplication.

It was also pointed out that Rs10.39 billion of Workers Profit Participation Fund were deposited in the office of the Nazir due to some petitions filed in the high court. The chief minister directed Advocate General Zamir Ghumro to get the amount released so that the same could be transferred to workers Welfare Board for welfare of the workers.

The adviser on labour drew the attention of officials towards the need to develop two more labour colonies one at Ghaggar, Karachi and other one at Daharki.

The chief minister directed the labour department to send a detailed proposal to him.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2016