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Tuesday July 16, 2024

Apex committee approves operation against bandits of riverine areas

By Our Correspondent
September 23, 2023

Sindh Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar while presiding over the 28th meeting of the provincial apex committee on Friday approved the launch of a comprehensive joint operation against dacoits in the riverine areas of Sukkur and Larkana divisions with the involvement of the Pakistan Army and Rangers.

He also decided the law enforcement agencies to curb street crime, drug peddling and operations of illegal hydrants in Karachi. “The elimination of dacoits, curbing of street criminals and drug mafia, and halting illegal operations of hydrants would build the confidence of the people in the government and its institutions,” he said as he directed Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) Riffat Mukhtar to improve the overall condition of police stations in the city.

The CM expressed his disappointment at the fact that dacoits were not allowing the construction of the Ghotki-Kashmore bridge, due to which work on it had been stopped.

To this, Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Babar Iftikhar directed the Rangers and police to reach the spot immediately and provide security to the people working there.

Grand operation

Caretaker Home Minister Brig (retd) Haris Nawaz and IGP Mukhtar briefed the apex committee on the law and order situation in the province.

The meeting was told that 220 persons had so far been kidnapped for ransom in Sindh in 2023, including 128 in Larkana, 46 in Sukkur, 42 in Karachi, three in Hyderabad and one in Shaheed Benazirabad divisions.

Of the 220 kidnapped persons, 210 had been recovered, including 121 in Larkana, 41 in Sukkur, all 42 in Karachi, and three in Hyderabad.

At present, only 10 kidnapped persons, five each in Sukkur and Larkana divisions, had to be recovered, the meeting was told. The police chief said there were hardly 50 to 60 notorious dacoits and the rest were tribesmen living in the riverine areas.

The apex committee was told that a joint operation with the Rangers and Pakistan Army had been planned to deal with the dacoits and the paramilitary force had already been deployed along with police to conduct a crackdown on organised weapon smuggling.

It was said that sophisticated military-grade weapons such as sniper rifles, grenade launchers, mortars, night vision devices, and drones were required for the operation, but a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the purchase of sophisticated weapons was pending with the federal interior and defence ministries.

To this, the corps commander Karachi said he had already given clearance as only the interior ministry had to issue a formal NOC for the purpose. The CM told the chief secretary to talk to the interior ministry for the issuance of the NOC so that weapons could be purchased from the Pakistan Army.

The IGP shared the joint operation plan to clear bandits’ hideouts in the Katcha area in which air cover for the advancing troops would be arranged.

Karachi situation

Karachi Additional IG Khadim Rind informed the committee that so far in 2023 some 411 people had been killed in the city, and 329 suspects in the murder cases had been arrested. He added that personal enmity and disputes were the main reasons behind these killings.

The apex committee was informed that some 39,884 cases of street crime were reported in Karachi in 2013, which kept increasing and reached 85,502 cases in 2022. Till September 17 this year, 61,098 cases of street crime had been reported in Karachi, the Karachi police chief said.

Justice (retd) Baqar remarked that street crime had developed a sense of insecurity among the people and earned a bad name for the government. The CM was told that District East was on top in street crime incidents with 17,570 cases, followed by Central with 14,648, Korangi with 10,731, West with 6,551, Malir with 3,193, Keamari with 3174, and South with 2,741 cases. He remarked that police should have a strategy to curb the high incidence of street crime.

After a thorough discussion, the apex committee decided to launch a joint operation of police and the Rangers against the street criminals and drug mafia in the city.

The CM constituted a committee under Sindh Caretaker Law Minister Omar Soomro for launching the Safe City project. The meeting would submit its report within a week, after which the CM would convene a meeting for implementing the project.

Illegal hydrants

Sindh Rangers Director General Maj Gen Azhar Waqas informed the meeting said that the paramilitary force along with police had started operations against illegal hydrants. He said 27 operations had been conducted in the Nazimabad, New Nazimabad, Orangi, Manghopir, Baldia, Jamshed Quarters and Chakra Goth areas. The Rangers DG disclosed that 27 illegal hydrants had so far been sealed with the arrest of 43 persons.