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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has taken notice of increasing street crime and directed the inspector general of police to carry out a vigorous operation against street criminals, drug mafia and land mafia.

Speaking at the 19th apex committee meeting here on Monday, he also suggested amendments to the law to send cases of street crime for trial to anti-terrorism courts.

Lt-Gen Shahid Baig Mirza, new corps commander Karachi, on the occasion promised full support to the government in a combing operation.

Presided over by the CM, the meeting was attended by senior minister Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, new director general of Rangers Maj-Gen Mohammad Saeed, advisers to the chief minister Maula Bux Chandio, Murtaza Wahab, chief secretary Rizwan Memon, Sindh IGP A.D. Khowaja, AIG-CTD Sanaullah Abbasi, AIG-Karachi Mushtaq Maher, prosecutor general Shahadat Ali Awan and heads of provincial agencies.

Rejecting the impression in some quarters that the ongoing targeted operation had slowed down, the chief minister said: “Today is the first working day of 2017 and I have convened this apex committee meeting, 19th in the series, which speaks louder of our commitment but I am sorry to say the federal government has failed to implement some important clauses of National Action Plan.”

He said NAP dealt with 20 points, of them 11 pertained to the provincial government.

In support of his assertion that NAP was being implemented in letter and spirit, the chief minister referred to the statement of home secretary Shakeel Mannijo, who quoted Numbeo, an international organisation, which had placed Karachi in its ‘Crime and safety index’ at number six in 2014 but now it had come down to number 31.

‘Pakistan Army is ready to extend any support the police, the government and the people of Karachi need’

Mr Shah said “the credit goes to this forum”, which planned, executed and supported targeted operations and crushed terrorists, target killers, extortionists and kidnappers. “I have convened this meeting deliberately to give a message to the people of this megalopolis that the PPP government is starting the year with maintaining law and order and making further plans to make peace in the city sustainable.”

Recalling the non-implementation of clauses by the federal government, the chief minister said: “NAP calls for banning glorification of terrorists but it is going [on] in the media; there should have been a crackdown on banned outfits but they are openly holding meetings and the policy is not clear; NAP also calls for repatriation of illegal immigrants but no tangible progress has been made so far and Nacta (National Counter Terrorism Authority) had to be made functional but this has not been done so far,” he said.

The government had taken serious measures for choking financing for terrorists and terrorist organisations. The collection of fitra and hides by force had been banned. Audits had been initiated by the social welfare department. Seven cases had been registered for financing and 11 accused had been arrested, the meeting was told.

It was also informed that the Counter Terrorism Force had been established with 2,000 personnel and so far 700 people had been recruited. The CTD had been provided 3G and 4G locators. It would have access to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) database, and an anti-terrorism financing unit, an explosives laboratory and a canine unit would be set up.

The meeting was also briefed on progress on legislation, including the passage of certain bills such as the Hindu Marriage Act and the Forced Conversion Bill. A draft bill on forced marriages had been prepared and a scheme to install surveillance cameras at religious places of minorities had been approved, which would cost Rs400 million.

The meeting was told that there were 10,033 madressahs, of which 7,724 were functional with an enrolment of 547,695 students, including 818 foreigners.

On Rangers’ performance, the apex committee was told that since September 2013 the Rangers had conducted 8,849 combing operations and handed over 6,892 suspects to the police. The Rangers arrested 1,493 suspected terrorists, 975 targeted killers, 440 extortionists and116 kidnappers, and 151 hostages were recovered, while 10,560 weapons and 620,783 ammunition seized.

The corps commander assured the committee that he would support the combing operation and provide necessary support to train the newly recruited police personnel. He also pledged that he would support the police in establishing a canine unit.

He also said that he was working with the Defence Housing Authority to get land for a forensic lab. “Pakistan Army is ready to extend any support the police, the government and the people of Karachi need,” he said.

The chief minister directed the police and Rangers to sit together to plan an operation against drug mafia and street criminals and present a report in the next meeting, which would be held after a month.

Published in Dawn January 3rd, 2017