A long-standing complaint from Sindh’s law enforcement officials that the Sindh - Balochistan border had become the gateway for drugs and weapons smugglers seems to have been answered. Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced on Saturday that the government had started monitoring the border. “We are jointly establishing check posts of the Coast Guard, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Frontier Constabulary (FC) at the Sindh and Balochistan border to prevent the criminal activities,” he said.
According to the interior minister, the border areas were also being used by kidnappers. “We will monitor criminal activities and I hope this will drastically reduce the crime rate in Sindh,” he said.
Malik spoke to media personnel after presiding over a meeting on the security situation in Karachi.
Additionally, other issues that have hampered the efficacy of the security and justice systems in Karachi are also being dealt with. Malik said that he has written to Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry to request the speedy trial of cases and establishment of special courts.
Malik said that a large number of cases had been pending before the upper and lower courts for several years and people were depressed because of the delays in the legal process. “He said that the federal interior ministry has also requested the CJP to establish special courts in all provinces and appoint judges, given the shortage of available courts.
Malik refuted reports that target killers had been released and said that all criminals would have to face their day in court. “Neither have we released suspects in the past, nor will we release them in future,” had he said.
He reiterated that footage of target killers would be broadcast on television channels. “We have shown the video of detained target killers to traders and very soon it will be released on TV channels,” he said. He said that other criminals, including those involved in land grabbing and drug peddling, would also be presented to the media. “We will not accept any pressure and will expose the real hands involved in the terrorist activities in the city.”
Malik announced that President Asif Ali Zardari had released a grant of Rs5 billion to the Sindh government. The money is meant to equip the police better and provide it automatic weapons and modern vehicles. The Sindh home department will also get an armoured personnel carrier and other technological facilities for counter-terrorism work.
The interior minister, who has been in Karachi for several days, received public acknowledgement for his work from Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan, who said he was grateful that Malik stayed in Karachi. “We have successfully controlled the law and order situation and credit equally goes to Malik sahib who works for 24 hours to bring peace to Karachi,” he said.
‘I don’t believe in chanting slogans like others’
Malik hit back at former Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza as well in a not-so-veiled manner. While addressing people in Lyari, where Mirza also spoke Friday, Malik said, “I don’t believe in chanting slogans like others, but will prove myself through my pragmatic approach.”
Malik, who was accompanied by Wassan, said that he would utilise half of his development funds for Lyari’s development. He also said that the police and law enforcement agencies were not taking action against the people of Lyari, but it was targeted against criminals. A search operation in Lyari on Sunday resulted in protests from residents who attempted to block the Rangers from carrying out raids. Malik said that the operation started against criminals would continue in Karachi without any consideration for the political affiliation of suspects.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2011.