Interior Minister Rehman Malik. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to set up an inter-provincial response force to handle emergencies.

The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by Interior Minister Rehman Malik here on Tuesday.The meeting, which reviewed the law and order situation in the country with focus on Karachi, was informed that the force would be placed at the disposal of the province that requested assistance.

The federal interior secretary, provincial home secretaries and IGPs, chief commissioner and IGP of Islamabad, the director general of National Crisis Management Cell and representatives of Rangers, Frontier Corps and intelligence agencies attended the meeting.

A committee headed by the interior secretary and comprising additional IGPs of all the provinces and Islamabad as its members will make recommendations on the composition and terms of reference of the force.

The meeting also decided that all provinces would raise special forces to provide security to dignitaries, diplomats and delegates from abroad in order to keep regular police force and law-enforcement personnel available for regular duties.

The Sindh IGP briefed the meeting about the law and order situation in Karachi. It was observed that the hostile elements were trying to foment ethnic and sectarian clashes. Karachi is suffering because of a tussle between certain political groups for control over certain areas.

The meeting decided that nobody would be allowed to divide society on ethnic lines and underlined the need for de-weaponising the city

It was proposed that the government should bring in law to de-weaponise the whole country.

The interior minister termed the stolen cars as a major instrument in the hands of terrorists for committing acts of violence and crimes.

He directed the chairman of National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to design a software for devising a vehicle tracking mechanism which once operationalised would inhibit and restrict not only theft of cars but also contain terrorist activities.

The Nadra chief was also asked to develop database of criminals and their family members so that a family tree of criminals is known to all police authorities and law enforcement agencies (LEA).

The meeting decided to interconnect special branches of police to share data about terrorists enabling a province to benefit from investigations carried out by other provinces and directed Nadra to provide networking facilities. Arms licenses will be renewed according to new ID card.

The chairman of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority was directed to report updated figures of unauthorised SIMs blocked so far.