A civil-military huddle in Karachi on Wednesday decided to extend the scope of the targeted operation against criminals in the port city to the entire province of Sindh.
The apex committee meeting chaired by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah at the CM House also agreed on establishing 30 more anti-terrorism courts across the province.
Among the attendees were Governor Ishratul Ebad, Karachi Corps Commander Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, Rangers Sindh chief Maj Gen Bilal Akbar, Home Minister Sohail Anwar Sial, provincial police chief Ghulam Hyder Jamali and Chief Secretary Siddique Memon.
Addressing a news conference after the meeting, CM’s newly-appointed information adviser Maula Bux Chandio referred to the two Military Police soldiers killed in the city in a drive-by shooting on Tuesday and said police and paramilitary Rangers officials had launched an operation to apprehend those involved in the attack. He assured the media that the attackers would be dealt with an iron fist.
Talking about extending the scope of the Karachi operation, the adviser said that most of the terrorists flee to other districts of Sindh after carrying out attacks. “The civil and military leadership have evolved a consensus to pursue them and launch a surgical operation in other parts of the province.”
According to a source, the meeting was informed that around 10,000 ATC cases were pending in Karachi alone. “The corps commander expressed dismay over it and suggested that the appointment of law officers be expedited to pursue the cases.”
He said the intelligence agencies presented a report on the activities of outlawed organisations Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Khairpur Mirs and Shikarpur districts. “Both the districts are very sensitive in terms of militant activities,” he quoted an intelligence official as saying.
Adviser Chandio said that most terrorists entered Sindh from Balochistan and other provinces. “It has been decided that heavy contingents of police and Rangers will be deployed to keep vigil on the people travelling along the provincial borders.”
The civil-military meeting expressed concern over the ‘incompetency’ of the public prosecutors and decided to appoint 200 new ones. The huddle also agreed on hiring 8,000 policemen and 200 investigation officers across the province. “Our previous government had appointed around 700 public prosecutors,” said Chandio. “They have failed to deliver and don’t pursue the cases, so the meeting decided to appoint 200 more law officers on merit.”
He said the incumbent government wished to remove the ‘incompetent’ prosecutors, “but they have obtained stay orders from court”.
Regarding the 30 new ATC courts, he said 10 would be set up without any delay. “The meeting also reviewed implementation of the National Action Plan and stressed the need to enforce all past decisions rather than putting an effort in only devising plans.”
Chehlum, polls security
In response to a query on security for Chehlum of Imam Hussain (RA) to be observed on Thursday (today), Chandio admitted the possibility of serious threats, “but the police and Rangers have devised a comprehensive plan to foil all nefarious designs”.
Regarding security for the third phase of the local government elections scheduled for Saturday, he said that only 226 of the 4,037 polling stations across Karachi were considered safe. “The government will deploy 44,000 police and 5,000 Rangers officials with the army on standby.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2015.
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