Targeted killings in Karachi in the second quarter of 2013 have gone down as compared to those in the first quarter. This was stated in a compliance report submitted by the Rangers DG Rizwan Akhtar ahead of the proceedings of the Karachi Law and Order Suo Motu case resuming from today.
In April, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had ordered the provincial bureaucratic hierarchy to help the law enforcers end targeted killings and restore peace in the city. To monitor the progress made during the 90 days in regard to the orders and directions passed by the court, a three-member bench of the apex court will resume the follow-up hearing at its Karachi registry branch today (Monday).
According to the report by the Rangers DG, the entire city remained peaceful during the last three months, except for Lyari where activists of the Kutchi community and gangsters of Lyari started the latest gang war on May 18.
He claimed that the economic and business activities were undisturbed during the stated period without any forced shutter-down strikes while the issue of extortion was also under control.
He told the court that permanent pickets had been established in Lyari to maintain peace. “Nine paramilitary soldiers were martyred and 36 more were injured while participating in targeted crackdowns against criminals in various areas of Karachi during the time.”
The Rangers-led operations created a safe environment to conduct the general elections in May, allowing people to come out for polling.
The Rangers claimed that militant networks, including banned outfits, had been effectively checked and were mostly on the run. “The militants have not been able to use the city for terrorist activities - no major terrorist attacks have taken place in Karachi since the Abbas Town bombing.”
According to the report, arson attacks and looting of property have also reduced to negligible numbers. Around 101 suspects were reportedly arrested for their alleged involvement in criminal activities during operations in Peerabad, Mangopir, Kalakot, Sacchal, PIB Colony and Chakiwara from April 12 to July 10 and had been handed over to the police for investigation. A total of 1,166 suspects, arrested in 836 raids and 87 search operations from March to July, were also handed over to the police
The Rangers chief said that findings of the Joint Investigation Teams should be accepted in courts, and prosecution must be done as per the findings. “A first-class magistrate should be included in the team to accord further transparency and legitimacy,” he suggested, adding that the criminals should be awarded exemplary punishments.
Among the recommendations in the report was to avoid frequent transfers of officials in the police department. Political parties were also asked to disband their militant wings.
“A policy to ban weapons should be made by the government and weapon licence issuance system should be revised in line with security challenges. Deweaponisation campaign must be launched to get rid of all illegal weapons in Karachi,” DG suggested.
The Rangers also proposed promulgation of witness-protection law at the earliest and asked that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority rules and regulation be implemented to minimise the use of fake SIMs.
The bench, comprising Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Amir Hani Muslim, is also scheduled to take up contempt application filed by the Awami National Party’s Senator Haji Adeel against the provincial chiefs of police and Rangers and chief secretary for allegedly failing to implement the apex court’s orders in their letter and spirit.
The Karachi law and order case stems from the suo motu proceedings initiated by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in August 2011 as the city went through one of its bloodiest summers. The Supreme Court initiated follow-up proceedings on October 23, 2012 to evaluate how many directives from its detailed judgment, passed on October 6, 2011, had been put into effect.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2013.