KARACHI: The apex committee of Sindh, tasked to oversee implementation of the new national counterterrorism strategy at the provincial level, has offered incentives for investigators and prosecutors in high-profile criminal cases.
The committee met days after the killing of Sufi singer and qawwal Amjad Sabri in a targeted attack and the kidnapping of a son of Sindh’s top judge.
Briefing the committee on the kidnapping of Advocate Ovais Shah, the son of Sindh High Court’s chief justice, the provincial police chief revealed that his cell-phone was switched on in Landikotal, in Khyber Agency, 48 hours after he was seized from outside a supermarket in Clifton on June 20.
IG AD Khowaja added that the kidnappers had driven away Advocate Ovais in an imported car. “Only 3,000 cars of this model and brand have been imported in Pakistan. Of them 700 are in Karachi,” he said. The car bore a computerised ‘SP’ number plate, he added. “Police have questioned all people dealing in [such] number plates [in an effort] to get some clues.”
Similarly, he said 2,292 closed-circuit surveillance cameras are installed at 538 different locations in the metropolis. “Most of these cameras are out of order, while the video quality of the remaining cameras is ‘very poor’. “The city needs at least 12 mega pixels CCTV cameras.”
Corps Commander Karachi Lt-Gen Naveed Mukhtar said 2,292 cameras were insufficient. “London is smaller than Karachi but it has 60,000 CCTV cameras, recording movements of all citizens round the clock,” he added.
Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad proposed establishment of a ‘separate commissionerate’ to install, maintain and regulate the city’s CCTV network. Subsequently, Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah formed a committee under Chief Secretary Siddique Memon, IG AD Khowaja and Home Secretary Jamal Shah to establish an ‘authority’ for installing, operating and regulating CCTV cameras.
IG Khowja said they have started hiring 2,000 ex-servicemen for the security of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). So far 168 officials have been recruited while the recruitment of 487 others was in final stage but “there were not enough applicants”.
The corps commander assured that army chief Gen Raheel Sharif had already assured the Sindh government that sufficient number of Sindh-domiciled ex-servicemen would be provided.
On the targeted killing of qawwali maestro Amjad Sabri, IG Khowja said their investigation was focused on three dimensions, property dispute, sectarian motives and political violence.
The corps commander told the meeting that a separate brigade has been raised to provide security to CPEC projects. Brig Farhan of CPEC Brigade said 13 of 38 projects fell in Sindh where over 9,000 Chinese would be working. The meeting approved the security plan for CPEC projects.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2016.