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KARACHI, April 18: The Sindh High Court on Thursday expressed grave concern over the presence of ‘no-go’ areas in parts of Lyari and directed the provincial chiefs of police and Rangers to make them ‘freely accessible for all’.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam that heard in all 42 petitions of missing persons gave this direction in a petition seeking recovery of a kidnapped man.

The court was visibly irked when the investigation officer of the kidnapping case submitted that certain neighbourhoods of the crime-infested Lyari such as Chakiwara, Mewashah, Gharib Shah and Aath Chowk were still the most affected areas where police van or any uniformed personnel of the law-enforcement agency (LEA) could not dare to enter.

The bench recalled that the inspector general of police and the director-general of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, repeatedly reported in press to have claimed that no more ‘no-go’ areas existed in the city.

The bench observed that the no-go areas in the city were the dens of hardcore criminals beyond the reach of LEAs.

The court was utterly dismayed when a representative of the home department, Sadiq Ali, on a query feigned ignorance about the presence of no-go areas in the city merely saying that he could check it out. “This is what the difference between the officer sitting in office and the person working in the field, who has entirely different perspective,” the bench remarked, while observing that the officials in the field faced the difficulties to appear before the court as they were the ones who suffered and faced the wrath of criminals.

According to the petitioner, his young son was abducted during the spree of ethnic violence between the Baloch and Urdu-speaking communities on Aug 17, 2011. Later, he said, he paid Rs200,000 and a motorcycle to unidentified kidnappers for the release of his son whose whereabouts were still unknown.

Interior secretary warned

The bench directed the interior secretary to verify if the missing persons in respect of the petitions before the high court were in any of the internment centre in Fata.

While hearing a bunch of petitions of missing persons who were believed to have been detained in the army’s internment centres in federally- and provincially-administered tribal areas, the bench warned the interior secretary that he would have to appear in person in case verification was not received by the next date of hearing.

The bench noted that it had been exercising restraint in issuing bailable warrants for the arrest of the interior secretary “as the court has had enough of hide and seek with the ministry of interior”.

Tracking system in LEA vehicles

The division bench directed the provincial authorities to expedite the process of installing trackers in the vehicles of the LEAs.

The court observed that the exercise would also provide the superiors a check for their subordinate field personnel.

The direction came on a petition of Mohammed Nasir Khan who approached the court against the arrest and detention of his son by the Rangers.

When the petitioner provided the registration number of the vehicle that allegedly picked up the petitioner’s son, Mohammed Sarfaraz Khan, the bench recalled it was suggested that tracker be installed in the vehicles used by the LEA men for patrolling and field duties.

The counsel for the Rangers submitted that a summary was moved to the authority concerned, but it did not receive any favourable response for one reason or the other. The court directed the provincial law officer to bring the matter into the notice of the law secretary as well as the law minister. “It is expected that the finance secretary shall issue such requisite resources for maintaining GPS in all patrolling vehicles of LEAs operating in the province,” the bench observed.