Caretaker Sindh chief minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar on Monday said his government has been persistently fighting street crime in Karachi and dacoits in the riverine areas, simultaneously working hard to bring in investment in the province by facilitating investors.
Baqar was addressing the participants of the National Security & War Course-24 who had called on him at the CM House. Maj Gen Amir Najam, the chief instructor of the course, led the delegation.
The meeting was briefed by Sindh Planning & Development Board Chairman Shakeel Mangnejo and provincial police chief Riffat Mukhtar on the development and crime situations respectively.
IGP Mukhtar said 63,527 street crime cases, including 20,830 phone snatching incidents and 36,369 motorbike thefts, had been registered in the province this year until last month.
Answering a question, the interim CM told the delegation that police and Rangers had expedited their targeted operations against street criminals as well as drug mafia members who were also involved in street crime.
He said he had tasked the police and Rangers to eliminate street criminals through a crackdown. “Police have also started compiling data on street criminals, and the prosecution of street crime has also been improved.”
The police chief said 221 ransom kidnapping cases had been registered in the province this year, compared to 81 such cases last year. He said the Larkana Range had registered 128 cases and the Sukkur Range 46.
On this the caretaker chief executive told the meeting that a comprehensive operation against dacoits is being planned simultaneously in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab.
He said the operation is being supported by the Pakistan Army and the Rangers, adding that drones would most probably be used to hit their hideouts in the thick forested areas located in the centre of the riverbed.
He also said the operation against dacoits has been started but it would be intensified shortly. He added that dacoits have started surrendering to the law enforcement agencies (LEAs), with seven surrendering last week. The meeting was told that 12,368 dacoits and terrorists have been killed, and 190 injured this year as a result of the operations conducted against them by the LEAs.
Mangnejo said Sindh has a population of 55.696 million, adding that the province has a literacy rate of 71 per cent among males and 46 per cent among females.
He said the school dropout rate is 51 per cent, adding that the school education department is offering different incentives, particularly scholarships, to improve the situation. Sharing the health indicators, the meeting was told that the maternal mortality rate in Sindh has been recorded at 224 per 100,000 births, and the infant mortality rate at 39 per 1,000 births, while the provincial government’s measures has ensured no polio cases during 2022-23.
Talking about growth potential, Baqar said Sindh is home to one of the oldest civilisations in the world, adding that the province is also known for its cultural diversity, rich heritage and Sufi tradition.
He said Sindh is blessed with immense natural and human resources: coal, oil and gas reserves; a coastline; agriculture, livestock and fishery resources; and a vibrant industrial and services sector. The port city of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest urban centre and industrial hub, is also in Sindh, he added.
He also said Sindh produces 3,300 MW of electricity, 2,100 mmcfd of gas, 8.049 million barrels of oil, 1.862 million bales of cotton, 3.945 million metric tons (MMT) of wheat, 2.58 MMT of rice and 18.335 MMT of sugar cane.
He pointed out that Sindh is rich in resources, but we have to utilise our resources properly. He also pointed out that Sindh has a development outlay of Rs2.28 trillion, and utilises Rs68.179 billion for debt service.
The interim CM informed the delegation that his provincial government has developed an attractive model to help attract investment in different sectors of the province.