Tuesday September 26, 2023

Sindh cabinet approves decisive action against dacoits of riverine areas

By Our Correspondent
September 15, 2023

The cabinet of the caretaker Sindh chief minister in its first formal meeting after its formation has announced a decisive crackdown against dacoits of the riverine areas of the province.

The cabinet gave approval to a joint operation involving the Army and Rangers to clear the hideouts of the dacoits and apprehend the groups involved in smuggling weapons to the gangs of the Katcha area.

The meeting also decided to deny stop internet services in the region in order to deny cyber and digital space to the dacoits. The Sindh cabinet met on Thursday at the Chief Minister House with Caretaker CM Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar in the chair.

The meeting also decided to curb street crime in Karachi by launching operations against street criminals and drug mafia. Sindh Home Minister Brig (retd) Hariz Nawaz and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Riffat Mukhtar briefed the cabinet on the overall law and order situation in the province.

The cabinet was told that so far during 2023, a total of 218 people had been kidnapped for ransom in the province, of whom 207 were recovered and 11 were still in captivity. The CM was told that when the incumbent IGP took the charge, a total of 57 people were in kidnappers’ captivity, but now, 46 of them had been recovered and efforts were under way to recover the remaining 11 persons. Justice (retd) Baqar directed the police chief to recover the 11 kidnapped persons. He also told him to direct the local police to keep in touch with the families of the kidnapped persons and inform about the police efforts for the recovery of their loved ones.

The cabinet was told that the dacoits in the Katcha area of four districts — Kashmore, Shikarpur, Ghotki and Sukkur — were holed up in inaccessible hideouts fortified by trenches and ditches and they had long-range military-grade weapons that were effective against armoured vehicles of the police.

It was said that the region infested by the dacoits had 238 villages with a population of 400,000. There were a total of eight police stations and 20 check posts in the area.

The IGP informed the cabinet that the police planned to establish 390 police posts in the four districts along the river embankment and cops deployed there would be equipped with latest weapons and gadgets.

The cabinet decided to launch a joint operation involving the police, Rangers and Pakistan Army to clear the dacoits’ hideouts. It also approved a crackdown on organised gangs involved in arms smuggling that had been supplying weapons to the dacoits. During the operation, the areas where dacoits operated would be denied the internet service to disconnect their communication.

Street crime

The cabinet was told that a total of 12,886 cases of street crime had so far been registered during 2023. The cases included 3,178 mobile phone snatchings, 93 four-wheeler snatchings, 758 four-wheeler theft, 2,143 two-wheeler snatchings, and 3,457 two-wheeler theft.

The CM directed the police chief to enhance police patrolling and start operations against street criminals. He said staff of the police stations of crime-infested areas may be replaced with effective policemen.

The cabinet was told that narcotics were being smuggled to Sindh from other areas of the country and slum areas of Lyari and Sohrab Goth were the main hubs of narcotics in Karachi. Drugs had also penetrated educational institutions.

The CM was told that four narcotics rehabilitation welfare centres were functioning with police support in Karachi where 360 addicts were being rehabilitated. The IGP said that so far 2,925 drug addicts had been rehabilitated.

The cabinet also approved the deployment of the Pakistan Rangers in Karachi division from September 14, 2023 till December 12, 2023 under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. The cabinet also approved the formation of Karachi Water and Sewerage Corporation’s board with eight ex-officio members and six non-official members.