259 in Karachi, 148 in rest of Sindh held for violating lockdown

March 26, 2020


Police check the documents of bikers at a checkpoint at Korangi Crossing on Wednesday.—Shakil Adil/White Star
Police check the documents of bikers at a checkpoint at Korangi Crossing on Wednesday.—Shakil Adil/White Star

KARACHI: Over 400 people were arrested across Sindh on Wednesday for defying the lockdown, which entered its third day, as the provincial government restricted people’s movement and ordered closure of all shops from 8pm to 8am.

According to police sources, as many as 407 persons were detained across Sindh. They police took action against them for violation of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code as well as hoarding of masks, sanitizers and gloves, etc.

They said total 259 were arrested in Karachi — 74 in South zone, 134 in East and 51 in the West zone.

Moreover, 70 persons were detained in the Hyderabad range, 10 in Mirpurkhas, nine in Shaheed Benazirabad, 43 in Sukkur and 16 in Larkana range.

The police also registered a total of 121 cases, including 81 in Karachi, against the held persons.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar said that the police wanted implementation of the lockdown by consent and not by coercion.

IGP asks his subordinates to avoid arresting people and deal with them compassionately

He added that their objective was to enforce social distancing but at the same time to facilitate the people for essential services and food items.

He urged the general public to stay at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the city and other parts of the province.

‘Don’t treat people as habitual violators’

In his message to the police force, the IGP said: “We are passing through an extraordinary situation at this moment and the police have to play an extremely important role in next weeks and months as this crisis would likely increase day by day but we have to continue to perform our duty for maintaining law and order.”

“Under this evolving situation, we have to do policing through new ways as we should not treat the violators of the lockdown as habitual violators of law.

“Unfortunately, we are arresting such persons who themselves were victims of the situation. We have to deal with such persons with patience and compassion.

“This is a time to take the people into confidence by engaging elders of the areas instead of using force against them,” he said.

He urged the officers working in the field to identify the poor and deserving persons in their respective areas with the help of area notables so that financial help and essential items could be provided to them apart from implementing the law.

Fearing hunger, joblessness and illness in days ahead, the IGP said that the shortage of essential goods might become a serious issue, which may trigger tension and law and order situation. Therefore, under this difficult situation, the police should come forward as ‘friend and helper’ of the masses in order to create a compassionate impression of the force before the people.

IGP asks police to avoid arrest

“Under this situation, the police should not arrest ordinary citizens but instead inform them about hazards of not following the official guidelines by making social distance in a polite way and warn them to avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings,” he said.

IG Mahar also asked his officers to appoint such representatives in all katchi abadis who should deal with a host of issues such as funeral prayers and lack of food and water through a liaison officer nominated at the DIG office while making contact with all charity organisations to help such poor people.

He directed the officers to take strong steps to prevent the situation from deteriorating. “We should keep in mind that during the most difficult phase in the country’s history, the situation may go against our thinking at any time, therefore steps should be taken for protection of the people.”

The IGP apprehended that if the people did not adopt precautionary measures and restrict themselves to their homes, then a large number of people might be infected with this virus resulting in deaths.

“Therefore, it has become imperative that the police should develop trust and harmony with the people,” he said, urging the police to avoid use of force against the people and demonstrate compassion.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2020