KARACHI: Interior Minister Rehman Malik said an additional 3,000 security personnel will be deployed in Karachi to bring the law and order situation under control.
Talking to the media along with Sindh Home Minister Zulfikar Mirza, Rehman Malik said law enforcers are carrying out a covert operation against those involved in target killings.
He said security officials are very close to their targets.
The interior minister vowed to establish the writ of the government throughout the country.
He said Karachi will be brought to peace by taking action against criminals regardless of their affiliations.
Speaking on the occasion, Zulfikar Mirza appealed to political party leaders to avoid blame games that complicate the already tense situation.
Updated from print edition (below)
Crackdown likely in trouble spots
The authorities are poised to launch a crackdown on the trouble spots of the city, especially those places where target shootings have been rampant.
It is learnt that top authorities have asked police and intelligence officials to provide details of the make-up of the sensitive areas, political parties’ influence and activities of criminals.
Officials told this correspondent that the authorities have asked Capital City Police officials at the town level to identify areas with a high probability of yielding illegal weapons and criminals.
According to the instructions, police officials have also been asked to share their suggestions to make the search operation a success. They have also been told to identify people previously involved in torching vehicles and tyres during protests, firing in the air, murder and attempted murder.
Details of people involved in drug peddling, land grabbing and street crime are also being sought.
This appears to be in line with what two high-profile meetings at Sindh Chief Minister House and Sindh Governor House decided on Thursday. The strategy on how to act against criminals and anti-people elements, however, is to be kept under wraps.
The decision was taken at the CM House meeting.
The participants of the meeting at the Governor House agreed to keep pursuing the “conciliatory policy” of President Asif Zardari and MQM chief Altaf Hussain.
The meeting, attended by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, and top PPP and MQM representatives, also forged consensus on launching indiscriminate action against mafias of all hues – land, drug, extortion and arms.
It took stock of the harrowing incidents of target shootings over the past three months in Karachi and the hidden motives behind these episodes.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza briefed the meeting on the Shershah carnage. Sources said the meeting decided to launch action in sensitive areas by cordoning off the localities in light of law enforcement agencies’ report relating to the Shershah incident.
Earlier, the CM House meeting discussed in detail the law and order situation in the province, particularly in Karachi, and mulled over ways on how to take action against criminals.
The meeting discussed the mode of action to be taken against “anti-people” elements “in light of President Asif Zardar’s directives” and crafted a strategy which is to be kept confidential.
The meeting resolved to come down hard on criminal elements so that peace is restored in the metropolis.
In this connection, all political parties and groups will be taken into confidence and – under a consensus – action will be taken indiscriminately against the trouble makers.
Earlier, the federal interior minister met provincial chief minister and conveyed a special message of President Zardari to him concerning the law and order situation.
The two officials vowed to take stringent action to establish order in the city.
Police have been ordered to arrest target killers in Karachi without showing any mercy to them, Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza said on Thursday.
Talking to reporters at Mardan House, the Awami National Party’s Karachi headquarters, he said that wherever it was felt necessary police will conduct operations to arrest criminals.
“I have been able to take the nod of one bride (ANP) and now I am going to take the nod of another (MQM),” Mirza said. He said no operation or action could be taken in any part of the city without his prior permission as he alone held the charge of security in the province.
“Our intelligence agencies are active and we know when and where to take action,” he added. He lamented that those previously arrested in cases of target shootings were released by courts because of weak prosecution. “This time around we are making sure that evidence and the case for prosecution are strong so that the culprits are punished,” he said.
He refused to disclose political affiliations of those arrested on charges of target killings, saying it would destroy the whole reconciliation process. “We would rather keep our mouths shut.”
ANP Sindh chapter president Shahi Syed announced the ending of the party’s boycott of Sindh Assembly proceedings after holding talks with the Sindh home minister.
The two discussed views on how to control target killings and bring peace to the city.
While Shahi Syed said his party supported moves to control target killings, it wanted indiscriminate action against the culprits. He, however, warned of huge protests by the party if the government mounted a one-sided operation to please a single party.
Dr Mirza assured the ANP leader that without a solid reason no operation will be conducted against any community. (Fawad Shah contributed to this report)
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2010.