HYDERABAD: Sindh needs the services of the Rangers for many years to come until the provincial police are trained and equipped to the level that they can replace them, said chief minister Qaim Ali Shah at a press conference on Sunday.
The incidents of targeted killings in Karachi have reduced and the murders which were reported were mostly personal in nature, he said, satisfied with the arrest of the suspects involved in the attack on Justice Baqar.
“There are about 17,000 to 20,000 police personnel for a city of 20 million people. A good number of them are on special duties with ministers, diplomats, important localities and for the security of people facing threats.” The chief minister described the recent killing of a taxi driver as a rare incident for which the whole organisation cannot be blamed. “Overall their [Rangers] performance is reasonable and their need is also felt.”
Local govt elections in six months
The Sindh government will seek six months from the Supreme Court to conduct local government elections, said Shah.
“We have to make some amendments in the 1979 Local Government law in consultation with the political parties to avoid making it a controversial system,” he explained. “Moreover, there is also the law and order problem that requires urgent attention.” Senator Raza Rabbani, the provincial information minister, Sharjeel Memon, and other provincial ministers were also present at the occasion.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had ordered all the provincial governments to submit in writing when they will hold the elections, by July 22. The court, realising the constitutional responsibility of the provincial governments, wanted them to conduct elections by September. Although the advocate generals of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa expressed readiness, Sindh’s lawyer sought an additional six months’ time.
Shah said that the bureaucracy had made illegal appointments mainly in the local government and education departments. “Thousands of jobs were doled out without prior sanction,” he said, adding that, “If we were to pay them all, the whole development budget will get drained in the salaries.” He warned that the government will fire all such employees whose appointments were made without prior approval.
The chief minister admitted that the performance of the municipal institutions, which function under the local government ministry, was dismal but blamed it on the financial hardships being faced by the municipalities. “I have come to know that a majority of these workers draw salaries but don’t attend their jobs.”
Senator Raza Rabbani, who is Pakistan Peoples Party’s candidate for the uncoming presidential elections, said that the opposition was likely to field a consensus candidate, adding that a name will be announced in the next two or three days. He evaded, however, questions when asked if the opposition he was referring to also included the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf. “Most of the opposition parties, some of which were allies of the former PPP government, are in consultation,” he replied.
The provincial chief minister, while recounting Rabbani’s accomplishments for steering the constitutional amendments, expressed hope that the PML-N will consider Rabbani’s candidature.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.