Not forgetting the rhetoric of ‘zero tolerance’ for extortion and other street crimes, President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday called for the use of the latest technology to combat violence and innovative ways to raise funds for this purpose.
A meeting was held at Bilawal House to deliberate the law and order situation, which has cost the city heavily in terms of lives and economic activities. More than 40 people have lost their lives in the past few days after political murders left the city in disarray.
Predictably, President Zardari directed the provincial authorities and interior minister Rehman Malik to equip the law enforcement agencies with modern combat equipment.
He asked them to supply the police and Rangers with aerial patrolling equipment including helicopters and armed personnel carriers (APCs) along with the ‘geo-fencing’ of certain localities to mark territories prone to criminal activities with virtual parameters. He said there needed to be a strict surveillance along the Karachi-Balochistan border to prevent militants from seeking hideouts in the latter region.
He also said that the nature of criminal activity needs to be studied, to know whether a crime was committed for sectarian, extremist, political or other reasons. “This would help in devising a strategy to combat each category of crime along scientific lines.”
However, the technology will require funds. For this, Zardari directed the provincial government to submit a report on resource generation for the purpose, urging it to come up with ‘innovative’ solutions.
He also promised the provincial government Rs2.5 billion for the purchase of weapons and other equipment.
Along with stressing on the use of the latest technology, Zardari reiterated the need for renewed political will to nab and punish criminals. “They must be brought to justice regardless of political affiliations.”
Earlier a meeting of the core committee of PPP was also held at Bilawal House and was attended by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and provincial ministers.
During the meeting, President Zardari directed Qaim Ali Shah to visit Lyari frequently to help address the problems faced by people living there.
President Zardari also took notice of threatening letters allegedly sent to provincial lawmakers who had moved and supported a resolution against the constitution of a Mohajir province in Sindh.
Some provincial assembly members had lodged complaints against Sindh Home Minister Manzoor
Rehman Malik, while giving a briefing to highlight the efforts of the federal interior ministry to help the provincial government in fighting crime, said the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) had earlier been directed to ensure that mobile service providers mail the SIMs to the residences of users. This is yet to happen. He also directed to the telecom authority to obtain personal information such as IMEI numbers of the handsets to effectively track down any unauthorised user.
Demands for a local government system in the province once more surfaced in PPP’s core committee meeting.
Sources say MQM too has come up with its ‘zero tolerance’ agenda: it insists on an immediate plan to empower the local government.
The president inquired about the progress on the local government system draft and apprised the committee about his telephone conversation with MQM’s chief Altaf Hussain.
Sources said the president has directed the draft be prepared after consultation with MQM leaders, adding that MQM opposes power being given to commissioners and deputy commissioners, but PPP leaders want to stick to the old system.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2012.