MQM-P censures Sindh govt over lack of action against street crime in Karachi

Published April 7, 2024
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leaders hold a press conference in Karachi on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leaders hold a press conference in Karachi on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Sunday censured the Sindh government over an increase in street crime in Karachi.

Karachi has been facing an increase in street crime in recent months. Data presented before a high-level security meeting last week showed more than 250 Karachiites were shot dead and 1,052 others were wounded by street criminals between 2022 and March 28, 2024.

Police sources said that a significant increase in violent street crimes was registered over the past three years.

On Saturday, Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi ordered law enforcement agencies to launch a crackdown on criminals, their handlers and facilitators to curb street crime in Karachi and improve security situation in other parts of the province, particularly the riverine area.

Last week, the MQM-P had demanded an operation against street criminals and hints at parting ways with the PML-N-led coalition government if the killing of innocent people was not stopped.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, MQM-P Senator Faisal Subzwari called on Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi to visit the city and summon Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

He said that PPP had been ruling the province for the last 16 years, yet citizens from Karachi to Kashmore were not safe. He said that no action was being taken against armed gangs and dacoits in Kashmore or against street crime in Karachi.

He called for summoning provincial officials and for the federal interior minister to form a committee.

“We requested that a neighbourhood watch system should be implemented. If the Sindh government won’t, then we announce that we will,” he said, explaining that concerned residents would guard their areas and work on the security and safety of their own neighbourhoods.

He called for an increase in police patrolling in middle-class and poorer areas of the city. He said that mainly motorcycles and mobile phones were stolen by street criminals.

“Is it possible that police checkpoints are not present at all entry and exit points of the city? Of course, they are [present]. Then is it conceivable that the market for stolen phones in the city runs without the patronage of the police?” he asked.

He said mobile phones worth billions were stolen in the city every year. He wondered if it was possible to believe that the police were not involved.

He further said that those terming incidents “mere street crimes” should have some shame. Turning his guns on Sindh Home Minister Ziaul Hassan Lanjar, he said that he would have to fix his “attitude” and called on him to open his eyes and ears before “opening your mouth”.

In a recent press conference, Lanjar said that the law and order situation in Karachi was currently much better than what it used to be in the previous years, adding that a “hype” had been created over the issue of street crime in the city.

“If you do not respect Karachiites’ lives and property, then we surely do. We will ask you questions, in the [Sindh] Assembly and outside of it too. You have a heavy responsibility […] now you are not the coordinator of a political person. You are not just a member of the Sindh Assembly. You are the home minister of the entire province,” he said.

He further said that if Lanjar was unaware about the state of affairs, the Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah should know. “Summon law enforcement agencies, form a system,” he said.

Subzwari further said that the MQM-P would hold meetings in every neighbourhood in an effort to find a solution to street crime. “Whatever solution can be implemented, we will do it.”

He called on the SHC chief justice to take notice of the lawlessness. He further said that street crime was an “industry”, and urged the SHC chief justice to take this matter up in court.

“Call all institutions and ask what is happening, how it is happening and who is making it happen.,” he said. Subzwari said that people in the metropolis were being killed for a “mere thousands” during robberies.

Meanwhile, MQM-P leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan said that the party was constantly raising its voice regarding the situation in Karachi. Talking about the appointment of the Sindh inspector general, he alleged that the provincial government had “blackmailed” the PML-N in order to appoint someone of their own choosing.

He further said, “An IG of your choosing, a home minister and a chief minister were appointed. It seems as a wave of happiness ran through the dacoits in riverine areas […] from Karachi to Kashmore, they are celebrating.

“They [dacoits] have been given the licence to kill after the appointment of the Sindh IG, the home minister and the chief minister,” he said.

“People are angry and are resisting now — they are not scared, they are fighting with the dacoits and losing their lives,” he said.

‘Crocodile tears’

Reacting to the press conference, Sindh Home Minister Lanjar said that establishing peace and order in the province was the government’s priority.

In a statement, he said that the PPP was trying to eliminate dacoits from the province, adding that the government had faith in police and law enforcement agencies.

He said that police personnel had also sacrificed their lives while establishing peace in the province. He said that the MQM-P was aiding criminals by making the police force “controversial”.

Lanjar said that the Sindh police chief was an officer with a “good reputation”, adding that all institutions were serious regarding establishing peace in the province.

He said that when the MQM-P was in power, then everything was “alright”.

“The people of Karachi have trusted the PPP. The mayor is also from the PPP,” he said. “We will never disappoint the people of Karachi,” he said.

He said that the PPP would show its performance to those trying to politicise this “important issue”.

“The MQM should note that the thieves and robbers have no ethnicity, they are only robbers in our eyes,” he said, adding that the government would deal with the people playing with the lives of innocent citizens.

“We are more saddened than you after the death of any citizen,” he said, adding that the people knew which party was shedding “crocodile tears”.

“The establishment of peace and harmony is our responsibility, which we will fulfil,” he said, adding that work was being done on a strategy for dealing with mobile thieves.

“The government and the people will establish peace in the whole province together,” he said.

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