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Sindh cabinet to be formed in consultation with Bilawal and Zardari, says Murad

When asked about formation of his cabinet, Shah, who has been elected CM for third time in a row

By Our Correspondent
February 29, 2024
Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah talks to media at Mazar-e-Quaid in this screengrab on February 28, 2024. — Facebook/Sindh Chief Minister House
Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah talks to media at Mazar-e-Quaid in this screengrab on February 28, 2024. — Facebook/Sindh Chief Minister House

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that he would form his cabinet in consultation with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari.

He stated this on Wednesday while talking to the media just after offering Fateha at the Mazar of the Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He was accompanied by Speaker Sindh Assembly Awais Qadir Shah, Deputy Speaker Naveed Anthony, MPAs Saeed Ghani, Mukesh Chawla, Sadia Javed and other PPP leaders and legislators.

When asked about the formation of his cabinet, Shah, who has been elected CM for the third time in a row, stated that he would be doing it very shortly. He said he needs to consult Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto and Asif Zardari. Additionally, he noted that former president Zardari currently held pre-occupations in Islamabad and he would provide his input on this when he was free.

To another question, Shah said that he had to implement the 10-point election manifesto of his party chairman, Bilawal, for which he was activating all the relevant departments of his government.

“Most of the initiatives given in the PPP chairman manifesto had already been started by his last government in selected districts and now their scope has to be enhanced to the entire province.”

Shah thanked the party leadership for making him the CM of the province for the third time. “I would leave no stone unturned to come up to the expectation of my Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and would serve people of this province to the best of my abilities,” he said and added that the law and order situation had improved compared to 2018 because he took some tangible measures to strengthen the police and empower them with necessary weapons, equipment and gadgets, and develop their confidence by enhancing their salaries and other benefits.

Shah said that giving top priority to the law and order, he had chaired the first meeting of his new tenure by reviewing the law and order situation in the province and setting some targets for providing a safe and secure life to our people.

He said the was thankful to the people of the province who gave the PPP a heavy mandate or a two-thirds majority in the provincial assembly. Replying to a question, the CM said there was a forecast of heavy rains in the province for which he had issued necessary instructions to all the civic agencies and local bodies in Sindh.

He visited the Mazar of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, laid a floral wreath, offered dua, and signed the visitors’ book. Earlier, Shah flew to Larkana where he paid respect to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto by laying floral wreaths and offering dua at their mazars in Garhi Khuda Bux. The CM also offered Fateha at the Mazars of Begum Nusrat Bhutto, Murtaza Bhutto and Shahnawaz Bhutto. Shah then flew to Sehwan from Larkana where he visited his ancestral graveyard and offered fateh at the mazars of his parents.

Law & order

Starting his third term as Sindh’s chief minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah chaired his first meeting on law and order on Wednesday, and vowed to curb street crime in Karachi and rid the Kutcha areas of dacoits.

Officials said Shah directed the police to improve the performance of the vulnerable police stations in the city by concentrating on the hotspots where the rate of street crime is high, and to ensure the revival of all the non-functional checkpoints established in the Kutcha areas to curb ransom kidnappings in the riverine areas.

“I want the strength of the police stations to be increased from 12,000 policemen to 24,000 across the 108 police stations in the city,” he said. At the outset of the meeting, the chief executive said dacoits have established their sway in the riverine areas of the Larkana and Sukkur divisions.

“I’m not happy with the increasing trend of street crime and kidnapping for ransom in the Larkana and Sukkur divisions,” he said, adding that he wants a targeted operation against the drug mafia to eliminate them properly.

Sindh police chief IGP Riffat Mukhtar said that during the past two months, 23 people were killed during robberies, and 3,953 phones, 46 four-wheelers and 1,537 two-wheelers were snatched.

Replying to a question, the IGP said that the rate of street crime is high in the jurisdictions of 22 police stations. The CM directed him to provide him with the list of the 22 vulnerable police stations in terms of street crime and identify the hotspots so that special focus can be given to them.

Murad directed the city police chief to get all his SSPs on roads in the evening. He said that street crime mostly starts after sunset, so police patrolling and the presence of police on roads must be ensured to curb it.

In response to a query, the CM was told that the 108 police stations in the city have a strength of 12,000 policemen. The CM noted that Karachi has a strength of 48,000 policemen but only 12,000 have been deployed at the 108 police stations, meaning that each police station has an average of 112 policemen.

He directed the IGP to rationalise the police force deployed at other units and raise the strength of police stations from 12,000 to 24,000. The IGP said the province has 25,000 vacant posts of policemen, so the CM directed him to start recruitment on merit.

He also directed the IGP to strengthen the traffic police, impart them with special training and ensure traffic management in the city. He said he is aware that traffic congestion issues have cropped up due to ongoing development works but the traffic can be managed even then.

Shah said police and other law enforcement agencies are authorised to use strobe lights, but no other vehicle is allowed to use them. He directed the traffic police to take action against the vehicles installed with strobe lights or fancy lights.

Replying to a question, the IGP said that only 14 cases of ransom kidnapping are outstanding. During the discussion, it was disclosed that a large number of people from other provinces have been kidnapped through honey trap and kept in the Kutcha areas between Sindh and Punjab.

The CM directed the IGP to devise a plan to launch a crackdown in the Kutcha areas. He said he is waiting for the forming of a new government in Balochistan so that a joint strategy with Punjab and Balochistan can be developed to launch a joint operation.

He directed the IGP to revive the police stations made non-functional in the Kutcha areas. “I’ll visit the Kutcha areas, meet with the policemen deployed at the checkpoints and hold a joint meeting of police and Rangers there.”

Shah directed the IGP not to allow people to have their private guards with them who openly display weapons. He also said he wants to strengthen the investigation process. “Due to poor investigation, heinous criminals get bail and again go into their crime world.”

He directed the IGP to arrange his (the CM’s) meeting with the police officers of the investigation wing so that they can be guided and their issues can be resolved. He said prosecutors would also be called to the meeting to develop teamwork to bring criminals to book.

The CM ordered immediately commencing the Karachi Safe City project without any delay, citing the urgent need to address security threats and to ensure the safety of the city.

He also instructed Safe Cities Authority Director General Asif Aijaz Shaikh to initiate the remaining phases of the project, prioritising the security and well-being of Karachi’s residents.

“This move comes in response to growing concerns about law and order in the city, and aims at enhancing surveillance and response capabilities to ensure a safer and more secure environment for residents and businesses.”

The IGP said that 708 police stations, including 108 in Karachi, are in dilapidated conditions. He requested the CM to approve funds to get all the police stations repaired.

The CM directed the finance secretary to release Rs2 billion for the police department to repair and reconstruct police station buildings. He said police station buildings should be worth looking at and appropriately secured, and all the buildings must have the same decent design.

Sindh Rangers Director General Maj Gen Azhar Waqas said they (the Rangers) are carrying out intelligence-based targeted operations against the drug mafia, terrorists and street criminals.

He said the Rangers had been sent to the Kutcha areas so that work on the Ghotki-Kandhkot bridge can be resumed. Home Secretary Iqbal Memon said that work on the bridge has been started, and police and Rangers have provided them with ample security.

The meeting was also attended by Chief Secretary Dr Fakhre Alam, Principal Secretary to CM Agha Wasif, Karachi Commissioner Saleem Rajput and the DIGs of the Karachi Range. The Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, Larkana and Shaheed Benazirabad divisional commissioners attended the meeting through videoconferencing.