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Supreme Court of Pakistan. — AFP photo/File

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Monday observed that constituencies in Karachi should be delimited in a manner that they comprise “mixed population” to avoid political polarisation and issued notice to the secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan after an ECP official submitted that the process of delimitation of constituencies in the city could not be initiated.

A five-member bench headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali was seized with the hearing of a case pertaining to the implementation of the apex court order in the suo motu case related to frequent targeted killings in Karachi. The other bench members are Justices Khilji Arif Hussain, Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Amir Hani Muslim and Athar Saeed.

Justice Jamali referred to a recent SC judgment that identified wrong delimitation of the constituencies in Karachi as one of the major problems, asking the ECP to initiate the process of delimitation of constituencies in the city for the purpose of avoiding political polarisation and breaking the cycle of ethnic strife.

The ECP official also placed before the bench a huge map showing different constituencies in Karachi.

The bench rejected that map and asked the ECP official to place on record the map in a reasonably small size.

Earlier, the bench rejected a report filed by an officer of the Sindh Rangers and directed the director-general of the paramilitary troops to appear in court on Wednesday.

The bench directed the Rangers official to submit a detailed report regarding raids conducted by them. The bench also ordered the official to inform the court about the details of arrested suspects, recoveries and police stations where the suspects were booked.

When the court inquired from a senior member of the board of revenue as to what steps were taken to conduct a forensic survey of the government land, Advocate General Abdul Fatah Malik stated that work was in progress and it would be completed within the time stipulated by the court.

The bench asked the BoR member as to what steps were taken for the reconstruction of the land record destroyed in the violence in the aftermath of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. The member said 80 per cent of record rewriting was complete.

Arms licences

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Wasim Ahmed filed a report regarding prohibited and non-prohibited weapons.

Justice Jamali asked the inspector general of police if there was any department that maintained the record of arms licence holders.

He directed the IGP to establish a cell to keep record of arms licences and for verification of applications.

The bench directed the police chief to update the department’s Central Record Office (CRO) so that the date of each accused and convict could be maintained.

The bench also took up the issue of paroled convicts and undertrial prisoners at length and observed that the authorities released the prisoners of their own choice without meeting the prescribed criteria.

Sindh Prosecutor General Shahadat Awan informed the court that 168 out of total 193 paroled convicts had completed the period of their probation.

When the bench asked the prosecutor general as to who ordered their release, he replied that a committee was notified which approved the parole cases.

Justice Jamali said that a lifer who was sentenced to total 33 years imprisonment was let off on parole. “Courts sentence the accused persons, and you release them,” he remarked.

Justice Osmany observed that no criterion was met in the release of prisoners on parole. He said that a prisoner convicted in murder case was not eligible to the concession of release on parole under the law and prison rules.