Apex committee vows to meet security challenges in Sindh

Published January 26, 2021
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah chairs apex committee meeting. - PPI/File
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah chairs apex committee meeting. - PPI/File

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the government will continue with the threat assessment mechanism to keep the city, the province and the country safe and secure.

“Terrorists have no ethnicity, religion, language and nationality but it is their mindset and inhuman proclivity which group them together with likeminded elements,” he said while presiding over the 25th meeting of the Sindh apex committee here at the CM House on Monday.

The meeting was attended by Information Minister Nasir Shah, Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab, Karachi corps commander, chief secretary, inspector general of police, director general of Rangers, provincial heads of intelligence agencies and other senior officers.

Expresses concern over meetings of academics with foreign diplomats without NOC

Threats against Quaid’s mausoleum

The meeting was told that threats had recently been received regarding the Quaid’s mausoleum, FJ House and Wazir Mansion. A security audit of all locations was done and voids in existing security mechanism were identified.

The meeting decided to enhance the security arrangements of these building on a permanent basis.

The home department told the meeting that the Anti-Terrorism Financing Unit (ATFU) had confiscated Rs10.249 billion from 2015 to 2020.

It registered 144 cases and arrested 90 accused, of them 19 were convicted and 37 were acquitted.

The meeting was informed that as of Nov 30, 2020, some 1,899 cases were pending trial in special courts and till Dec 2020 over 240 cases were instituted, of them 125 disposed of by convicting 24 persons and acquitting 98 others.

The chief minister said that the conviction rate stood at 19.02 per cent and acquittal rate at 78pc.

The meeting was told that 1,867 cases were pending in the antiterrorism courts.

Over 380,000 arms licences computerised

The home department had revalidated/computerised 387,031 arms licences, including 26,288 recently.

The meeting was informed that during 2020, 145 cases of violation of sound system/loudspeaker and eight of hate speech were registered.

The government has de-registered 20,051 NGOs and now only 5,148 NGOs stand active. The audit of 660 NGOs had been conducted, of them 25 recommended for a tier-II audit by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD).

The meeting was told that an anti-encroachment drive was peacefully being conducted in the surroundings of the Mehmoodabad nullah because of a very positive public engagement by the provincial government.

The drive would move towards Gujjar and Orangi nullahs and the meeting urged the adoption of a similar approach to engage the affected people.

The apex committee urged the law department to seek concurrence of the Sindh High Court for the appointment of sessions judges/additional sessions judges exclusively for holding trials of street crime cases.

The meeting was told during a special campaign from October-December 2020 the Karachi police arrested 350 accused involved in mobile theft/snatching and recovered 352 stolen/snatched mobile phones.

All mobile phone vendors had been instructed through the Karachi Electronics Dealers Association and other associations to not purchase any mobile without obtaining the identity of the seller and keep all record of sale and purchase.

Rising vaccination refusal cases

It was observed that during the National Immunization Drive (NID) refusal cases were on the rise in Sindh, including Karachi.

During the last NID held in Nov-Dec 2020, 154,142 cases were reported in Sindh. Host of factors, including a negative social media campaign, lack of awareness and societal pressure were contributing towards this upward trend, the meeting was told.

It was decided that religious scholars be encouraged to play a proactive role to address this issue.

The meeting was told that Pakistan and Iran were hosting 91pc of total Afghan refugees dispersed in around 80 countries. Pakistan is not a signatory to 1951 convention relating to Status of Refugees, but it abides by the principles of not forcing the refugees to return to their country. Still 2.75 million Afghan refugees are residing in Pakistan.

The meeting was informed that the Proof of Registration (PoR) cards and Afghan Citizen Cards (ACC) had expired on June 30, 2020 and a summary was moved to the cabinet division for extension. The meeting urged the federal government to adopt a clear policy for repatriation of the refugees.

Concerns over diplomats’ security

It was pointed out that various foreign diplomats in Karachi moved without security cover in the city and held meetings at public and private places.

The police and other agencies, owing to current security environment, recommended that the ministry of foreign affairs might be requested to issue necessary guidance to diplomatic missions here.

It was also brought into the notice of the apex committee that some vice chancellors/professors of different universities and educational institutions were holding meetings with foreign diplomats without intimation or getting permission from the government.

The meeting was told that the Sindh Safe Cities Authority (SSCA) had been notified and senior police officer Imran Yakoob was posted as its director general.

The Safe City Project Scheme/PC-1 had been approved and required funding would be released. The pace of installation of 10,000 cameras would be expedited, the meeting was told.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2021


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