New Sindh govt decides to take on Karachi’s worsening crime rate

Published March 14, 2024
Sindh CM presides over a provincial cabinet meeting on March 13. — X/SindhCMHouse
Sindh CM presides over a provincial cabinet meeting on March 13. — X/SindhCMHouse

• Around 16,000 street crimes were reported in Karachi since January, cabinet told
• Murad directs authorities to ensure official prices

KARACHI: In view of the runaway street crimes in the city, the biggest challenge for the provincial government seems to be the maintenance of law and order as the newly-appointed cabinet in its maiden meeting on Wednesday was informed that nearly 16,000 street crimes had so far been recorded in the metropolis since January.

The cabinet was also informed that the incidence of kidnapping of ransom cases in the riverine area, better known as Katcha, had increased during the current year.

According to official sources, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who presided over the first meeting of his cabinet, said crime rate in the metropolis varied month to month and had come down during the first two and half months of the current year, but the impact of reduction was not felt by the people of the city.

The meeting was attended among others by provincial ministers Sharjeel Memon, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Nasir Shah, Sardar Shah, Saeed Ghani, Jam Khan Shoro, Zia Lanjar, Mohammad Bux Mahar, Haji Ali Hassan Zardari and Zulfiqar Shah, and advisers Babal Khan Bahyo, Ehsan Mazari, Najmi Alam, newly-appointed Chief Secretary Asif Hyder Shah, advocate general and prosecutor general.

Briefing the cabinet, Home Minister Zia Lanjar and IGP Riffat Mukhtar noted that 7,822 cases of street crime in the city were recorded in January 2024 and 5,876 in February and 2,234 in March (till 12 March).

The chief minister directed the home minister to make the SHOs and SSPs of the area accountable for the street crimes that included carjacking, bike lifting, cellular phone snatching and mugging.

Home Minister Lanjar told the meeting that street crime cases in the city had decreased by 4.18 per cent compared to the last year.

He said that 274 murders, 84 cases of kidnapping for ransom and 30 cases of extortion were reported in the entire province from Jan 01 to March 12.

The home minister said that the police registered 2,921 cases of crime against persons, 6,486 against property, 4,517 local and special laws, 163 accidents, and 4,643 miscellaneous cases.

Kidnapping for ransom

The cabinet was told that out of 78 cases of kidnapping, 49 victims had been recovered and 29 were yet to be recovered. Out of 29 kidnapping cases, six belonged to Ghotki, nine to Shikarpur, and 14 to Kashmore.

It was pointed out that the kidnapping cases had increased due to tribal feuds.

The chief minister directed the home minister to involve a few ministers, district administration and the police to resolve tribal feuds at the earliest.

He said that the kidnapping of innocent people for ransom was unacceptable and strict action must be taken against the dacoits.

The chief minister was told that an operation against the drug mafia was in progress and most of the drug peddlers and addicts were involved in street crime. He directed the police to take strict action against the drug mafia and strengthen vigilance.

Price Control

Karachi commission Saleem Rajput while briefing the cabinet on the initiative taken to control prices of edible items, particularly during the holy month of Ramazan, said that the district administration was conducting raids to control prices.

He said that the district administration had conducted 1,500 raids, registered 1,150 cases, sealed 14 shops, and recovered Rs7.14 million fine from March 06 onwards.

The chief minister directed the cabinet members to start conducting surprise visits to the markets to control the prices. “I want the notified prices to be ensured in the market,” the CM said and added the raids against the hoarders must continue.

Red Line

Transport Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that work on the Red Line project had been stopped which had not only caused serious problems for the people of the area but may cause price escalation of the project.

The CM directed the minister of transport to start speeding up work on the project and remove the bottlenecks, if any.

IRSA chairman appointment

The cabinet expressed its reservations about the appointment of the chairman of the Indus Rivers System Authority (IRSA), stating that it violated the water accord.

The cabinet observed that the chairman of IRSA should be selected from among the members of the provinces or the federal government. No one from outside could be appointed as chairman of IRSA, and doing so would be a clear violation of the accord.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2024

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