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The Supreme Court's Karachi registry.—Photo by PPI

KARACHI: The Supreme Court has ordered the Sindh government to take immediate action against all armed groups in Karachi, including the Taliban, DawnNews reported.

In an interim order issued Saturday, the Supreme Court’s bench five-member hearing a case for the implementation of the apex court’s earlier order in a suo motu case related to the law and order situation in Karachi directed the provincial government to arrest all prisoners released on parole and present them before it.

The bench was headed by Justice Anwer Zaheer Jamali with Justices Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Khilji Arif Hussain, Gulzar Ahmed and Amir Hani Muslim as members.

The order, which constitutes eight pages, says that the provincial government should take the issue of the presence of the Taliban in Karachi seriously.

In an earlier hearing on the same case, Justice Jamali had said there were reports of between 6,000 and 7,000 Taliban activists having made their way into the city. The court had then directed Sindh police chief Fayyaz Leghari to submit a detailed report in this regard.

During the previous hearing, Inspector-General of Prisons Zafar Abbas Bukhari has presented to the court a list of 193 convicts and 35 under-trial prisoners who were released on parole since 2003.

Commenting on the report, Justice Jamali has remarked: “This is a very serious issue. It seems a parallel judicial system is being run by the home department and convicts are being released even after their convictions are upheld.”

The bench, in its short order on Saturday, ordered that the 35 under-trial prisoners released on parole be arrested on immediately. It further stated that the police and other law enforcement agencies had failed in providing security to the citizens.

The court also directed the Sindh government to take immediate steps to protect the citizens against targeted killings. Moreover, the court also ordered that all firearm licenses should be computerised within three months and all previous non-computerised licenses be cancelled.

The interim verdict also ordered authorities to take action against illegal unregistered vehicles in the city, directing the government to implement its all of its directives within three months’ time.

TTP gaining strength in Karachi

According to a report published in a local daily on Saturday, the banned extremist outfit Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are known to be gaining in strength in the metropolis, recruiting family members of target killing victims to boost their numbers. The report states the militant group's objectives in Karachi include killing law enforcement personnel and members of other religious sects (Shia and Bohris) with the help of other banned outfits, and raising funds through robbery and extortion.

The report quotes sources as saying that militants have firmed their grip in several areas of the city, including Sohrab Goth, Quaidabad, Shireen Jinnah Colony, New Karachi Industrial Area, Sultanabad, Manghopir, Baldia Town (particularly Saeedabad), Surjani Town, Qasba Colony, Peerabad, Shah Latif Town and Shah Faisal Colony.

The government has planned a comprehensive operation against the TTP and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) that is expected to be carried out by the Sindh Rangers in the coming days, the report adds.