ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari seemed keen on the implementation of a Supreme Court judgment concerning the state of law and order in Sindh, especially Karachi, when he met top provincial functionaries and the government’s legal wizards on Saturday.
The president had convened the meeting “to know about the steps that had so far been taken by the Sindh government for implementation of the order”, his spokesman Farhatullah Babar said about the discussion at the presidency in what was the first reaction to Thursday’s ruling after suo motu hearings by a five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.
The meeting was attended by Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Attorney General Maulvi Anwar-ul-Haq, Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Hussain Wassan, provincial Law Minister Mohammad Ayaz Soomro, former federal law minister Senator Babar Awan and Sindh Chief Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas.
The Supreme Court in its verdict had criticised both the federal and Sindh governments for their failure to ensure peaceful economic activity in Karachi and characterised the “unimaginable brutalities” a result of a turf war aimed at keeping socio-political control over the city.
The verdict made it clear that the court would continue keeping a watchful eye and would strike down any illegal pressures or orders brought to its notice.
The verdict stressed the need for eliminating no go areas in Karachi and deweaponise the city and called upon political parties to denounce criminal elements that had sneaked their way into their ranks. The court also laid emphasis on the need for new laws to deal with land grabbing, creation of an independent and a de-politicised investigation agency to probe crimes, setting up of a special cell to deal with illegal immigrants, collection of facts about disappearance of police officers who took part in the 1992 and 1996 Karachi operations and compensation to the sufferers.
Without elaborating, Farhatullah Babar, the president’s spokesman, said the chief minister informed Mr Zardari about the steps his government intended to take in light of the apex court’s verdict.
He said the president had expressed “satisfaction over the fact that all the concerned government agencies are cognisant of the need for implementing the verdict”.
Mr Zardari was informed by the chief minister that the provincial government had already taken “some steps” to implement the ruling, Mr Babar added.
Mr Babar, however, refused to share with journalists details of the measures which, according to the chief minister, had already been taken in line with the Supreme Court’s verdict.
Former law minister Babar Awan said he had briefed Mr Zardari about “specifically actionable” parts of the judgment.
Restoration of peace in Karachi was a common cause of all stakeholders and the “government is fully determined to do it in furtherance of the Supreme Court’s ruling.”