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KARACHI, Nov 27: More than 400,000 arms licences have been issued by the present Sindh government led by the Pakistan People’s Party, and illegal weapons have flooded the province, particularly in its Tando Allahyar town, which has earned the nickname of the Bara (illegal market) of arms trade.

This was stated at a meeting held on Tuesday at the Chief Minister’s House to review the law and order situation in the province.

CM Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who was presiding over the meeting, ordered the police, Rangers and other law-enforcement agencies to launch a crackdown against arms smugglers and unauthorised shops selling arms and ammunition.

The meeting was further informed that during the present government’s tenure the conviction rate of criminals was 39.75 per cent, and 15,798 cases were still pending in various courts.

Highlighting the urgent need for amendments to certain laws, including the arms act, to make them effective for an early disposal of cases, the chief minister formed a committee comprising the provincial home secretary, advocate general, prosecutor general and law secretary to consult with the federal law minister and suggest necessary amendments to the laws at the earliest for presenting before the Sindh Assembly for legislation.

Regarding computerisation of arms licences, the meeting was informed that the process of police verification of licences had already been initiated and Rs75 million paid to the National Database and Registration Authority for the installation of a computerised system in the home department and all divisional and district headquarters to help owners of arms licences in verification by the respective office of police superintendent.

It was decided that the Sindh police would recruit 200 persons holding degrees in law, who would be trained and assigned the task of investigation and process of legal requirements.

It was also decided that like old city areas, the SITE area would be provided prompt security, and community policing would be encouraged. It was decided that legal action would be taken against people taking the law into their own hands and creating problems for others.

Reviewing the performance of the police, Rangers and other law-enforcers during the first 10 days of Muharram, the chief minister praised them, particularly the central investigation department, which helped detect explosive material and arrest criminals.

The meeting was also informed that a survey of bank branches had revealed that about 90 per cent of security guards were untrained and could not address security needs.

The meeting was attended, among others, by law minister Ayaz Soomro, information minister Sharjeel Memon, finance minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, chief secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas, IG Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari, deputy DG of Rangers Brig Muhammad Rafique Khan, AIG-Karachi Iqbal Mehmood, advocate general Abdul Fateh Malik, prosecutor general Shahadat Awan and law secretary Ghulam Nabi Shah.