KARACHI: Sindh government’s deadline for the voluntary submission of illicit weapons ended about a week ago without any substantial response from the general public. The government and law enforcement agencies, meanwhile, seem to be at a loss regarding the strategy to deweaponise the city, The Express Tribune learnt on Monday.
The two-week deadline for Karachi’s residents to surrender any illegal weapons they may own ended on October 12, with just 16 illicit weapons surrendered at various police stations. The provincial government had initiated the campaign after the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the authorities to clear the city of weapons.
After the deadline ended, Rangers and police officials have been granted special powers to conduct door-to-door search operations to seize any illicit weapons.
Under the directives, the law enforcers may even impose a curfew for the task, however, no such action has been taken thus far.
“We are trying to chalk out the best strategy to effectively deweaponise the city. We may impose a curfew as directed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” the provincial information minister, Sharjeel Inam Memon, told The Express Tribune. “One thing that is clear is that we have extended the circle of operation in the city.”
On Monday, a joint meeting of Rangers and police was held at the Rangers headquarters in Karachi, which was jointly presided by Rangers DG Major General Rizwan Akhtar and Sindh IGP Shahid Nadeem Baloch.
According to the Rangers spokesperson, the meeting discussed the next course of action to confiscate illegal weapons.
The progress of the ongoing joint operations by the Rangers and police was also discussed at length. The meeting was attended by Karachi AIG, all zonal DIGs, Rangers DDG and sector commanders.
Meanwhile, police officials say that it is unlikely that the city would be weapon-free any time soon.
“There is already an operation going on in the city. We cannot do much more,” said a senior police officer, on the condition of anonymity.
“The only one option left is to enhance the circle of operation and conduct door-to-door searches by imposing a curfew.”
The officer said that around 13 major areas, including Orangi Town, Liaquatabad and Lyari, have been marked where a massive operation is likely to be conducted soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2013.