Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday decided to conduct security audit of all the shrines, mosques, temples, churches and other such holy places of worship; public and important places.
“We have to place efficient systems in place to fight terrorists,” he said while presiding over a meeting at the CM House to review over the security of shrines, holy places and other public places.
The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, IG Sindh AD Khowaja, Additional IG Karachi Mushtaq Maher and Additional IG CTD Sanaullah Abbasi among others.
Later the meeting was joined by Special Assistant to CM on Auqaf Ghulam Shah, Secretary Auqaf Riaz Soomro and other concerned officers.
Hesco's negligence at the shrine
Briefing the chief minister IG police said that the blast took place at 7pm and at that time there was power outage.
On this the Secretary Auqaf said that it was not outage, rather Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) had disconnected power connection of the shrine.
The chief secretary confirming the report said that the Hesco had issued a Rs40 million electricity bill to the shrine and against their non-payment of dues the main power cable of the shrine was taken away by the power company.
The chief minister expressed displeasure at this development and said that after reconciliation of Sindh government's total power dues with the Water and Power Ministry installments have been paid to them according to the agreed schedule.
It was also agreed with the ministry that no Sindh government connection would be disconnected over non-payment.
“How did Hesco dare to disconnect power connection of the main shrine,” he said and directed the commissioner Hyderabad who was on the video link, to direct Hesco to restore the power connection of the shrine by the evening.
The commissioner after talking to Hesco CEO told the chief minister that some illegal connections were taken from the main connection of the shrine, therefore, the main connection of the shrine was disconnected.
The chief minister replied that legal action will be taken against Hesco for disconnecting the main connection of the shrine instead of the illegal ones.
The IG police told the attendees of the meeting that some arrests have been made but it has quite clear similarities with the incident of Shikarpur blast and that the evidence collected at the shrine will be sent to Lahore for lab tests. The CM instructed the IG to conclude the case with satisfactory results as early as possible.
The chief minister also constituted a committee under Additional IG CTD Sanaullah Abbasi to investigate the case from different angels.
Security to be provided to places of worship
The divisional commissioners briefed the chief minister about the number of shrines, holy places of worships of different religions and sects and told him that security at these places had been beefed up.
The Auqaf secretary told the chief minister that there are 80 shrines under the Auqaf department and was instructed by the chief minister to provide adequate security to each of these places of worship.
He directed A D Khawaja to conduct a security audit of every important place, including shrine, temples, churches, mosques, Imambargahs, hospitals and such other places.
He directed the Sindh police chief to constitute a special team comprising security audit experts and members of the Auqaf department to suggest necessary measures.
The chief minister was informed by the divisional commissioners who attended the meeting through video link that there were are 150 shrines, seven churches, 44 temples in Larkana division.
Around 17 shrines, six Imambargahs, 50 temples in Shaheed Benazirabad Division.
In Sukkur division, there were 29 shrines and a number of temples and Imambargahs.
The chief minister directed divisional commissioners and DIGs to direct their DCs and SSPs to keep reviewing security regularly.
“The war against the terrorists is of grave importance and we have to win it with the support of our people,” he said.
Additional IG Karachi Mushtaq Maher said that in Karachi there are 6,560 mosques, 350 shrines, 100 churches and of them 40 are active, over 100 temples and three Gurdwaras.
"Normally over 500 policemen are deployed there for security but on Friday night and their security is enhanced and over 1500 to 2000 police men are deployed there," Maher informed the attendees of the meeting.
The CM on the advice of chief secretary Rizwan Memon approved recruitment of local searchers — male and female, purely on merit by Auqaf department who would be given special training by the police. These searchers would searach each and every visitor for security.
He also directed the Auqaf department to install closed-circuit television cameras at all the important shrines and establish a control room to keep an eye on the movement of each and every visitor.
The chief secretary was directed to make necessary funds available for security arrangements of the shrines and other important places and put them on the disposal of Principal Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch so that they could be released forthwith upon requests.
The CM also took another important decision to construct compound wall around shrines where they are required and also ordered the chief secretary and IG police to get rid of all encroachments around shrines.
Earlier, the chief minister was give an in-camera briefing on the progress of investigation into the case, links, and arrests of suspects made so far by AD Khawaja and Additional IG Police Sanaullah Abbasi.
CM takes notice of neglect towards burial of remains.
Sindh Chief Minister, while taking notice of the report of recovered remains of people killed in Sehwan blast from the nearby drain, ordered Commissioner Hyderabad to conduct inquiry and take measures to fix the situation.
He expressed his dissatisfaction towards Deputy Commissioner Jamshoro for his neglect towards the collection of the remains and their proper disposal.
He ordered the DC Jamshoro to personally visit the area surrounding the shrine and see to the proper burial of the remains.