• Journalists, lawyers, doctors, businessmen facing threats, Baqar says in a letter to security apparatus
• Warns police, Rangers against any more complacency

KARACHI: Terming the performance of law enforcement agencies ‘unsatisfactory’, caretaker Chief Minister retired Justice Maqbool Baqar on Tuesday expressed utmost displeasure over the security situation across the province ahead of the upcoming general elections and directed the provincial chiefs of the Pakistan Rangers and the police to take immediate measures to stem the rising tide of crime in cities and rural areas.

The chief minister presented a gloomy picture of the law and order situation in a letter to the director general of Sindh Rangers and the Inspector General of Police, Sindh, saying that he was distressed by the recent surge in crimes in the urban and rural areas which included robbery, murder, rape, kidnapping, drug trafficking, impersonation, mobile snatching, targeted killing, and extortion among other serious crimes.

Justice Baqar wrote to the DG Rangers and the IGP that following the announcement of general elections, there had been multiple reports of attacks on candidates, who, in a few cases, had even been kidnapped in broad daylight.

He said in the letter that the most vulnerable segments of society — women, children, and the elderly — had borne the disproportionate brunt of these crimes.

“Journalists, lawyers, doctors, businessmen, and other professionals face a bigger threat to their lives and property, but the law enforcement apparatus continues to be complacent,” he added.

The chief minister expressed his utmost displeasure on the deteriorating law & order situation and directed the IG police and the DG Rangers that immediate measures be taken to stem the rising tide of crime in cities and rural areas to protect and safeguard fundamental rights of citizens enshrined in the constitution.

Well-placed sources said that the chief minister was mainly concerned about the growing incidence of street crimes in the cities, particularly in Karachi, and unbridled armed gangs of dacoits in the riverine areas (Katcha) of Sukkur and Larkana divisions.

They said that a joint grand operation against the dacoits in the riverine areas had been planned by the caretaker provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab over three months ago, but it continued to be delayed for one reason or the other.

The sources said that the chief minister had time and again observed that the crime rate particularly the street crime in Karachi and Hyderabad had increased while the Sukkur and Larkana ranges had shown no tangible progress in curbing bandits in the riverine (Katcha) areas.

Display of weapons banned

Meanwhile, the chief minister imposed a ban on display and carrying of weapons across the province.

While presiding over a meeting at CM House, he directed the IGP to ensure peaceful atmosphere during the upcoming general elections.

He gave clear instructions to the provincial police chief to take strict measures to avoid any untoward incident in the general elections. The chief minister said that the display and carrying of arms would be banned for next 45 days.

However, this ban will not apply to persons of law enforcement agencies performing their duties.

The guards of private security companies wearing uniform are also exempted from this ban during duty.

Justice Baqar said that display of weapons during travel in car/vehicle would also not be allowed under any circumstances.

He said that strict legal action would be taken in case of violation.

Later, the home department issued an order regarding the ban imposed on the display and carrying of arms.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2024

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