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KARACHI: The Sindh government has formed a committee to examine a proposal to make changes to the local government law so that some mechanism may be evolved for the removal of elected mayor, chairman and vice chairman.

The proposal made by the Sindh local government department was discussed at the cabinet meeting, which was presided over by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, held at the New Sindh Secretariat here on Thursday.

While the cabinet did not approve the proposal, a committee comprising Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Murtaza Wahab, Burhan Chandio and others was formed to examine it in detail and come up with its recommendations.

CM approves summary to extend special policing powers of Pakistan Rangers

Some cabinet members were of the opinion that a vote of confidence was the appropriate way for the removal of any elected representative of the local bodies instead of having a new mechanism.

The Sindh cabinet was given a detailed briefing on law and order in the meeting, which was also attended by advisers and special assistants on special invitation besides the officials concerned, on the day the chief minister approved a summary to extend special policing powers of the Pakistan Rangers, which had expired on Jan 10.

Giving briefing to the cabinet on law and order in Karachi, IG Police A.D. Khowaja said 53 spots in 15 police stations’ areas were identified, where street crime was rampant. The police stations worst affected by street crime were Defence, Clifton, Ferozeabad, New Town, Aziz Bhatti, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Mobina Town, Azizabad, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Sharea Faisal, Preedy, Zaman Town, Korangi, Taimuria and Korangi Industrial Area.

These areas were being provided with additional deployment and community-based policing, he said. While appreciating the homework by the IG police, the chief minister said: “I want results even if you have to start removing non-performing SHOs and other officers.” He directed him to regularly send him reports on the worst-performing police stations.

Earlier, Home Secretary Shakeel Mangnijo said 1,063,315 arms licences had been issued across the province. Of the 473,347 licences received for re-registration, 198,426 were revalidated, he said. However, he added, more than 500,000 licence holders had not filed for revalidation of the licences which stood cancelled. The chief minister directed the secretary to expedite the revalidation of the licences received so far and set up a committee comprising Burhan Chandio, Qasim Shah and Dr Sikandar Mandhro to review the policy of granting arms licences.

DNA testing

The cabinet approved in principle changes to the criminal procedure code to make DNA testing mandatory in rape cases for which samples must be collected within 72 hours of the incident. However, a committee was formed to examine the entire clause and also propose penalty/punishment in case the officer concerned failed to collect the samples.

Giving a comparative analysis of performance of 2015-16, the police chief said all heinous crimes had come down. The cases of terrorism dropped by 15 per cent, extortion by 27pc, kidnapping for ransom by 12pc, targeted killing by 27pc, murder by 29pc, dacoity by 21pc, mobile snatching by 24pc, snatching of cars by 34pc, snatching of motorcycles by 13pc, and car and motorbike theft by 14pc.

Quoting an ‘SRSS report’, he said sectarian violence had decreased in Sindh, while it had increased in Fata, Punjab and Balochistan.

Ban on 94 seminaries

The chief minister briefed the cabinet on the interior ministry’s response to their recommendation to ban 94 madressahs, which were allegedly involved in promoting terrorism. The apex committee had been provided with strong evidences gathered against the seminaries from terrorists arrested by the law-enforcement agencies. After their interrogation, the agencies concerned worked hard to collect the evidences and on the basis of that information, 46-page recommendation along with evidence and the list of the 94 seminaries was sent to the ministry of interior.

“I was quite surprised when an attempt was made to politicise the issue instead of taking action as recommended by the government,” he said.

“Come what may we would go ahead and keep crushing the terrorists wherever they live or [are] nurtured because we are the worst affected people of terrorism,” he said, adding that the federal government’s response showed how serious the interior minister was to take action against militants.

A three-page reply to our 46-page letter was sent by the interior ministry, the chief minister told the cabinet. He said: “We have responded to their letter and will see what action they are going to take which will ascertain their seriousness to eliminate terrorism from the country.” He reiterated the determination of his government that terrorists and religious fanatics would never be allowed to keep playing with the lives of innocent people even if the federal government refused to cooperate.

The cabinet meeting also decided to fix wheat procurement target for the forthcoming procurement season at 1.2 million tonnes against last year’s target of 1.1 million tonnes.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2017