KARACHI: The possession of illegal weapons is likely to be punishable by 10-year imprisonment instead of the current three-year sentence. This measure was proposed at a meeting on Tuesday under the chairmanship of interior minister Rehman Malik as part of the government’s efforts to control target killings in Karachi.
Sources said the police and law enforcement agencies have been asked to strictly enforce the ban on the display the weapons.
“In this connection, the home department has proposed to make an amendment to the law and extend the punishment from three years to ten years for the possession of illegal weapons. Legislation will be made very soon and the offense will be declared as non-bailable,” the sources said.
Law enforcers at the meeting gave a presentation on the law and order situation in the city. According to the sources, they complained that they were unable to take action against many offenders as they were affiliated with political parties and said the situation could not be controlled unless officials were given a “free hand” in their dealings with criminals.
Therefore, it was decided that all peace committees, which had been established earlier to work at union council levels, should be activated.
“The committees - consisting of social activists, elected representatives and police officials - were supposed to bring peace in their areas, but have been unable to function properly since the time of their inception,” the sources said.
They added that the SHOs of troubled areas will now be asked to consult with the members of the peace committees at regular meetings and have also been asked to submit lists carrying names of notorious criminals, gangsters and land grabbers to the inspector general of police (IGP).
The meeting further decided to set up a “special cell” in collaboration with officials of the Intelligence Bureau and the Inter-Services Intelligence, which will coordinate with the area’s police to apprehend criminals.
The powers of Rangers will also be enhanced and they will coordinate and consult with intelligence agencies, after which the Sindh home minister will order action.
The meeting was informed that a complaint cell has also been established in the National Crisis Management Cell in Karachi and people have been requested to register their complaints at 021-99203355. It was also decided that the names of the people filing complaints will be kept anonymous.
“The Frontier Constabulary will act as a standby to help police and Rangers during sensitive operations,” Rehman told officials at the meeting.
Crackdowns will not be influenced by political pressure, the interior minister said, adding that violence of any kind, including the burning of tyres, vehicles and other forms of vandalism, will not be tolerated.
Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, Sindh IGP Sultan Salahuddin Babar Khattak, capital city police officer Wasim Ahmed, home secretary Arif Khan, special branch AIG Akhtar Memon, Rangers director general Eijaz Ahmed and representatives of the intelligence agencies were also present at the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2010.
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