KARACHI: The outgoing caretaker Sindh government claimed to have taken effective policing measures that led to a decrease in street crime in Karachi by 4.19 per cent.

“For the first time in seven years, street crime in Karachi has decreased by 4.19pc in 2023 compared to the preceding year,” said a report issued on the performance of the caretaker provincial government on Sunday.

“We have endeavoured to improve the police’s capacity by activating the Shaheen Force. Around 386 new bikes were added to this force for the purpose of patrolling hotspots of criminal activity. At the same time Madadgar 15 has been revamped by increasing vehicles, giving them access to better technology and adding 30 new computer terminals,” the report quoting outgoing caretaker Sindh Chief Minister retired Justice Maqbool Baqar said.

He said that he took over as the caretaker CM in mid-August last year and during his over six-month tenure “he worked hard and made some tangible improvements”.

“The protection of citizens’ life, liberty and property forms the basis of the social contract between the people and the state. Unsurprisingly, failure to protect citizens dampens the public’s confidence in their representatives, erodes the government’s credibility and engenders vigilantism. Nonetheless, the law and order situation in Sindh raised concerns as regards the law enforcement agencies’ performance,” stated the report.

Kidnapping cases in riverine area down from 170 in first eight months of 2023 to 63 in last six months, says performance report

About the operation against dacoit gangs in the riverine area, the report claimed that the first eight months of 2023 saw 170 incidents of kidnapping for ransom across the province, the “next six months saw 63 such incidents”.

The report stated that the outgoing CM was “able to significantally reduce the financial outlay” of the Sindh Safe City Project and released its first tranche during the current month.

Justice Baqar said that revamping Madadgar 15 and addressing issues afflicting investigations had all contributed to this “improvement”. “Nonetheless, we are conscious of the fact that crime would continue to rear its head if policing is not supplemented by better governance and more egalitarian policies,” he observed.

Projects executed in Karachi

A statement issued from the CM House stated that the caretaker government may not have the time, space or mandate to undertake any major infrastructure rehabilitation. “However, the caretaker CM made an effort to expedite the Sharea Faisal Development Project, remove illegal hydrants and regulate the supply of water through tankers.”

The Karachi Water and Sewerage Corporation (KWSC) has begun placing QR codes on water tankers to prevent unauthorised tankers. Furthermore, efforts were made to rehabilitate the 6,000 people affected by the Gujjar and Orangi Town nullahs.

“A plan to redesign and uplift various federal quarters, including Martin and Clayton Quarters, was also devised to equip them with modern amenities and give ownership rights to their inhabitants,” it added.

The government has also released funds for dedicated pipeline to supply water to DHA City and SITE, revived a RO plant at Manora, conducted a fire safety audit of buildings in the city to prevent loss of lives in fire-related incidents, procured additional snorkels, rehabilitated infrastructure including roads, parks, walkways, and lights, developed cultural and heritage sites such as Chaukhandi and taken steps towards its restoration and beautification to ensure its enlistment as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

The caretaker CM said that he was saddened to see the impact of floods on Sindh’d educational landscape. Therefore, he strived to secure $275 million for the funding of 1,600 schools damaged by the floods, the statement said.

It added that in view of teachers’ absenteeism was prevalent throughout schools in Sindh, the CM initiated the installation of bio-metric machines for attendance in public schools.

Another issue which afflicted education in public schools was the paucity of books in public schools. Upon intervention, the caretaker CM realised the Sindh Textbook Board’s dire straits. Therefore, he addressed the Sindh Textbook Board’s precarious financial state, it added.

“The chief minister acknowledged the efforts made to improve service delivery during their tenure, but also acknowledged that there is still much to be done,” the statement concluded.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2024

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