KARACHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday spoke to the media in Karachi and announced that the Karachi operation had made a tangible difference in the city’s law and order situation, and the government had no intention to cut it off within a few months, Express News reported.
The premier was talking to journalists in a press conference held after his meeting with representatives from Karachi’s business community.
Nawaz Sharif said that security forces had arrested around 6000 suspected target killers, extortionists and kidnappers in the metropolis and though the operation could be improved further, there was no doubt it had affected the city’s security situation for the better.
“By and large, everyone from the business community has agreed that the operation has had positive results,” said the prime minister. “Nobody said that the situation was as bad as before.”
Nawaz Sharif was flanked by Governor Ishratul Ibad on one side and Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on the other. He congratulated both officials on the success of the operation.
Nawaz agreed to the Governor’s request that a committee be formed to supervise the operation.
The PM went on to say that the government was aware that criminals from one province were taking refuge in other provinces, and Sindh, Punjab and K-P were all victims in this regard.
He promised due action against such criminals, adding that the courts must pursue an expeditious trial against every one of these suspects and take into account the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) reports provided by in this regard.
Nawaz Sharif said the country was facing serious challenges but strong decisions by a strong government could put things right.
The Prime Minister also announced the steps taken by the government to bring the economy back on track and resolve the crippling energy crisis.
‘Lay down arms,’ Nawaz tells Baloch rebels
Earlier, on his visit to the disaster-stricken Awaran district of Balochistan, the PM asked Baloch rebels to lay down their arms and to work towards the betterment of the country.
Nawaz said there was nothing to be gained from fighting with the rebels, and that they were “our brothers” and there should be no motivation to take revenge from them.
After a major earthquake hit Balochistan on September 24 this year, the army began relief work in the province, which was made difficult by rebel activity in the region.
The rebels had charged the army with conducting an operation in the garb of relief work – a charge that Maj Gen Salik, who oversees the relief operations, strongly denied.
While speaking to earthquake victims and tribal leaders in Awaran, Nawaz Sharif also announced the government’s plans to give Rs0.5 million in aid to the families of victims who died in the Balochistan earthquake. Those who were injured will also be given Rs0.15 million each.
He remarked that “while no specific worth can be put on life,” this financial aid is being being given to provide relief to the victims.
Nawaz said that Awaran should be turned into a “model district” and the government wishes to improve Awaran so that it is “no less then Karachi, Islamabad or Lahore.”
“[We shall] rebuild Awaran so that it looks like a beautiful city, not a village,” the premier said.
Nawaz also asked the victims in his address whether they would prefer that the government rebuilds their homes or if they would rather rebuild their houses themselves.
The government will take action to provide electricity via solar power to Awaran 24 hours a day, Nawaz continued.
He also emphasised that the government is bearing the cost of these relief activities and “did not take foreign aid” to fund it.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch were present with him during the address.
A 7.7-magnitude quake struck Balochistan on September 24, destroying thousands of mud-built homes as it spread havoc through Awaran and Kech districts and southwestern parts of the country. Awaran is counted among the most sensitive and insurgency-hit districts of Balochistan.
According to the USGS, the epicentre was 23 kilometres below the ground in Awaran district.
The death toll from the quake was at least 350 people with more than 800 injuries. The quake had destroyed access routes to many areas in the province, making it difficult to determine exact figures of the victims.