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KARACHI: The Sindh government has launched an operation across the province, particularly in Malir, Jamshoro, Hyderabad, Dadu, Sukkur and Larkana districts, to crush the “facilitators” of terrorists.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah informed his party chief, former president Asif Zardari, that a detailed plan had been worked out in the light of intelligence reports to request the federal government to launch an operation in Balochistan, particularly in Wadh, Mastung, Jhal Magsi and Khuzdar.

The CM met Mr Zardari here at the Chief Minister House on Monday. The meeting was held against the backdrop of a suicide attack at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan.

Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Inspector General of Police A.D. Khowaja, Counter-Terrorism Department chief Sanaullah Abbasi, Karachi police chief Mushtaq Mahar, Karachi Commissioner Aijaz Ali Khan and other officials also attended the meeting.

Mr Zardari said that some forces were working to weaken Pakistan but he would not allow this conspiracy to succeed.

He urged the chief minister to take up the issues of Afghan nationals living in Sindh and ‘get them out of this province and the country’.

“We have suffered a lot at their hands,” he said.

He stressed the need of crushing facilitators of terrorists living in any district or area of the province.

He also directed the chief minister to strengthen police by providing them latest training, weapons, budget and to take measures for bringing improvement in their lifestyle.

He directed to launch a “smart city” project in Karachi with eight megapixel CCTV cameras controlled directly through a state-of-art control room.

The meeting also decided to remove encroachments near all the important shrines. He said that even private land close to these shrines — including Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Sachal Sarmast, Shah Aqeeq — should be purchased to give wide and clear space for security.

The CM said that he has held a number of meetings of police, district administration and the Auqaf department in which all these issues had been addressed.

“Sindh is the land of Sufis and peaceful people. I am proud to say that not a single suicide bomber from Sindh has ever been found as they are being imported from other areas and countries,” he said, adding: “Yes, their facilitators have emerged in some districts where my government has decided to launch an operation.”

He told Mr Zardari that he had sent a list of 94 madressahs to the federal government for vigilance and watch on their activities, but instead of taking action the federal government’s response was disappointing.

Earlier, IGP Khowaja briefed Mr Zardari that the blast took place at around 7pm on Feb 16. There were over 4,000 devotees inside the compound of the shrine. He said that 90 people were killed and 351 wounded in the blast.

He said that the CTD had been assigned the investigation into the blast and the geo-fencing data was being obtained.

He added that the bomb disposal squad in its report stated that around seven to eight kilograms of high explosives with pieces of lead, blank 9mm bullets and ball bearings were used in the suicide blast.

Talking about post-incident investigation, the IGP said that fingerprints of those who lost their lives and remained unidentified had been collected, while samples taken from the crime scene had been sent to a forensic laboratory for DNA test.

He said that pieces of mobile phones were also taken for a forensic analysis. The footage made from CCTV cameras and mobile phones had been secured for analysis.

He informed the meeting that the suicide bomber had also been identified.

Chief Secretary Memon said that there were 700 shrines in Sindh. The police, in coordination with the Auqaf department, were providing security, but facing some issues, including encroachments, lack of boundary walls, unidentified and multiple entry/exit points, parking facilities, inadequate resources to search those entering the shrines and a lack of lady searchers.

Meanwhile, acting on the directives of Mr Zardari, the CM announced Rs10 million compensation to the family of head constable Abdul Aleem who was killed in the Thursday blast.

Plan to relocate eight ATCs from Clifton Chairing a meeting on the security of courts, the CM approved a proposal regarding shifting of eight antiterrorism courts from Clifton to the Karachi central prison.

The meeting was attended by the chief secretary, Advocate General Zamir Ghumro, Principal Secretary to CM Naveed Kamran Baloch and Finance Secretary Hassan Naqvi.

The CM said that the police had submitted a report stating that the movement of undertrial prisoners from Karachi central prison to ATC complex in Clifton was quite risky.

He said that the police had to deploy around 1,500 policemen to ensure security of UTPs to and from prison to Clifton.

He approved the proposal to shift the ATCs and directed the chief secretary to issue a notification in this regard.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2017