It was decided that the relevant station house officers would be held responsible if party flags were not removed. — Photo by APP

KARACHI: Demarcation of sensitive areas, increase in regular patrols, setting up of pickets on vulnerable roads, deployment of sharpshooters, formation of intelligence-sharing committees, amendment to the anti-terror law and immediate removal of party flags from public property were some of the important decisions taken at a meeting held at the Chief Minister’s House here on Sunday to consider measures to improve the law and order situation in the city.

The meeting was jointly presided over by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Interior Minister Rahman Malik.

In the wake of the three-day violence triggered by the targeted killing of political activists last week, the meeting called upon all political leaders to purge militants from their parties. They were asked to remove party flags from public property with immediate effect.

It was decided that the relevant station house officers would be held responsible if party flags were not removed from government buildings, bridges, poles and other public property within their remit.

The meeting also decided that the parties would be required to take permission from the local administration to hoist party flags on special occasions or declared days.

It was also decided that no party would be allowed to hoist flag on anybody’s house without taking the consent of the occupant.

Addressing the participants of the meeting, including Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wasan, the chief secretary, additional chief secretary for home, inspector-general of police, director-general of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, and Karachi police chief, the chief minister said President Asif Ali Zardari had called for action by the law-enforcement agencies across the board without any discrimination.

He said the Rangers and police would patrol sensitive areas on a priority basis. They would be reinforced with additional manpower to ensure safety of markets, he added.

It was decided that pickets would be set up on the roads ‘most vulnerable’ to robberies and snatching.

The meeting also decided that the Banaras bridge, where four people were killed last week, would be guarded by police patrols and posts where sharpshooters would be deployed. Similarly, it was decided at the meeting that the ICI bridge would also be monitored round the clock with the deployment of police and Rangers.

The DG of Rangers and the city police chief would identify most sensitive roads and areas for extraordinary deployment of law-enforcers. The city would be divided into zones according to their level of sensitivity, it was decided.

The participants in the meeting highlighted the need to amend the anti-terrorism act (ATA) to make sure that the culprits behind violence were brought to justice.

Emphasis was laid on strengthening of police stations and giving confidence to the SHOs so that they took responsibility of their areas.

The interior minister said the SHOs be given the authority to raise volunteer and community support programme to assist and help police in maintaining law and order. He also called for better coordination between the police and Rangers.

It was decided that divisional intelligence committees comprising representatives of the Rangers, police and intelligence agencies would be constituted to coordinate security efforts and share sensitive information to maintain law and order. A notification in this regard would be issued by the Karachi commissioner.

It is worth noting here that Mr Malik had on Saturday night claimed that the authorities had got clues to the involvement of the Taliban in the killing of political activists and in fomenting sectarian and ethnic unrest in the city.

Official sources said President Zardari would hold a meeting on Monday to review the law and order situation in the city and overall political environment.

Following his visit to the Kati Pahari area where he met ANP leadership and the meeting on law and order at the CM House, the interior minister said all political parties had been given a 24-hour ultimatum to voluntarily remove their flags as the police would come into action afterwards, adds PPI.

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