Amid growing lawlessness in Karachi, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan landed in the metropolis on Monday to take stock of the ‘worrying’ law and order situation.
He had a flurry of meetings with top provincial administration officials and law enforcers. Apparently unimpressed by the so-called ‘surgical’ and ‘targeted’ operations of the provincial government, the minister told a news conference that the situation must be stabilised within ‘days and not months’.
“We don’t believe in ‘ifs and buts’. We cannot wait further. The federal government is not willing to interfere in a provincial government’s matters, but it wants to see peace in Karachi without any further delay,” he said.
Chaudhry Nisar said the situation in Karachi was not ordinary, but added that the provincial administration should take strict measures to establish its writ and protect citizens from target killers, extortionists, land grabbers and other mafias.
“I have assured the chief minister that the federal government will provide every possible assistance, including intelligence-sharing and forces. But it wants action against the criminals beyond their political affiliation and influence,” he stated.
The interior minister said that he flew into Karachi on the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who himself would visit the city to inquire about the law and order situation.
“The officials of intelligence agencies are seeking a free hand to control the situation. We [the federal government] are also in favour of giving them a free hand for the sake of peace in Karachi which is the commercial hub of the country,” he said, adding that he had not come to Karachi for political point scoring or malign anyone, but to ascertain the cause of the lawlessness and an amicable solution.
Chaudhry Nisar also denied making any statement about placing Karachi under the federal government’s control. “My statement was taken out of context. I will give the responsibility of controlling the law and order situation to the provincial government and we can support it.”
Earlier the interior minister met with Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan and discussed the deteriorating law and order situation.
Meeting with DG Rangers
In his visit to the Rangers headquarters, Director General Rangers Maj Gen Rizwan Akhtar and other senior officials briefed Chaudhry Nisar about the relentless violence in the Lyari neighbourhood and targeted operations being carried out by the paramilitary force.
“Our senior officials briefed the interior minister about the situation. The minister lauded the role of Rangers in apprehending the suspects, recovering explosives material from them during the raids and maintaining law and order in the city,” said a spokesman for the paramilitary force.
Nisar lauds Sindh govt’s efforts: Shah
On the other hand, Chief Minister Shah said the interior minister lauded his administration’s efforts to improve law and order. “Soon after our briefing Chaudhry Nisar appreciated the role of police and Rangers in battling criminals in Karachi,” Shah told the media.
Chaudhry Nisar also met with the senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders, who complained about political victimisation by the Sindh government.
He also met Pakistan Muslim League-Functional leader Pir Pagara to consult him on the upcoming presidential elections.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.
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