KARACHI: The Sindh cabinet, presided over by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, on Wednesday expressed serious reservations “on the attitude of the federal government” vis-à-vis transfer of the inspector general of police that “has resulted in the uncertainty prevalent in the police department and the worsening law and order across Sindh”.

The cabinet members unanimously stated that law and order had gone bad to such an extent that sitting MPA and member of the public safety commission Shahnaz Ansari was killed despite the fact that she had applied in writing for security to the IGP on Feb 12. The meeting was told the IGP received her application on Feb 13 but he took two days to upload it in its complaint system for SSP Naushahro Feroze and by that time she had been without security she had requested for.

The cabinet expressed displeasure over the failure of the police in arresting the main accused of the murder saying only two suspects had been taken into custody.

The cabinet discussed the murder of journalist Aziz Memon in which the police had failed to arrest any accused so far. The chief minister said he had sent Education Minister Saeed Ghani to meet the family members of Mr Memon.

CM Shah said he was ready to order an inquiry, including a judicial inquiry to the satisfaction of the family. Minister Ghani said the family wanted the Nawabshah SSP to conduct an inquiry.

The chief minister directed the home secretary to coordinate between the police and the deceased’s family for transfer of inquiry from the Naushahro Feroze SSP to that of Nawabshah.

Security in Karachi

The cabinet was told the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee had released figures of the worsening law and order situation in the provincial capital.

In December 2019, some 128 four-wheelers were stolen or snatched and the next month in January the figure rose to 191 vehicles, showing an increase of 64 per cent.

The recovery rate of the stolen or snatched four-wheelers had also decreased from 34.38pc in December to 24.61pc in January.

Some 19 people were killed in December and 30 in January, showing an increase of 30pc.

The mobile phone snatching in December was 4,476, which increased in January when 4,650 mobile phones were snatched.

The cabinet termed the law and order situation as worsening across Sindh as a result of the uncertainty “created by the federal government” by halting the transfer of the IGP.

“[It] is unfortunate the federal government, despite forging an agreement in principle, is lingering IGP’s transfer though it has changed five IGPs in Punjab,” CM Shah said.

Meanwhile, the cabinet endorsed the memorandum of understanding on the establishment of friendly cooperation relationship between the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau and the Sindh police department.

Under the MoU the Chinese authorities would train Sindh police in crime detecting, riot combat and sharing of criminal data with each other.

Land for graveyards

The cabinet was told that all six deputy commissioners in Karachi were assigned to find land for new graveyards. Land has been identified in Karachi West, Korangi and Malir districts, it was stated.

There is no land for graveyards in Karachi South, Central and East districts. Some 55 acres have been identified in Karachi West. At main Mauripur, five acres were available, at Gadap 100 acres, Bin Qasim 80 acres, and five acres at Korangi were available, the meeting was told.

The cabinet approved reservation of the land for graveyards and decided to transfer it to the relevant local bodies.

Wheat

The cabinet took a “historic” decision by approving a plan under which no flour mills would be declared procurement reserve centre because of cases of misappropriation. It also decided to allot district-wise bar-coded bags to be distributed among the growers across Sindh.

The cabinet also decided only those officers would be posted as centre or warehouse heads who faced no cases of misappropriation. The posted heads at warehouses would continue till the end of the procurement of wheat and its shifting to safe places.

To ensure fair distribution of bardana among growers, a district-wise procurement target would be fixed on a proportionate basis.

Keamari gas leakage

The chief minister presented the gas leakage issue in the cabinet, saying MPA Liaquat Askani was the first person who had informed him about offloading of a container at the Karachi Port Trust that had reportedly spread toxic gas. He had pointed out that people were feeling difficulty in breathing.

The KPT authorities and the relevant minister, instead of ordering an inquiry, kept passing the buck on the Sindh government and finally “what Mr Askani had said proved to be true”, the chief minister said.

The cabinet lauded the services of Humayun Khan, Asif Khan and other people who worked round the clock for providing relief to the people of the area.

The chief minister asked the chief secretary to submit a proposal before him to further strengthen the Provincial Disaster Management Authority to combat such situations.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2020