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March 9, 2018

Sindh apex committee decides to restart Karachi Safe City Project


March 9, 2018

The 22nd meeting of the provincial apex committee on Thursday observed that Karachi’s Safe City Project (primarily for modern electronic surveillance of the city) has been delayed due to the intervention of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and decided to restart it after taking the anti-graft watchdog into confidence.

The meeting, which was held at the Chief Minister’s House with CM Syed Murad Ali Shah in the chair, discussed the draft of seminaries law, the Safe City Project, cybercrime, detention powers under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), speedy trial of street crime cases, land grabbing, banks security, installation of trackers in motorcycles, security audit of Dargahs, standard registration number plates of motor vehicles and operation in Katcha areas of Sindh.

The meeting expressed reservations over unnecessary delays in implementing the Safe City Project. The meeting was told that the project was started with the hiring of a consultant, but NAB Sindh wrote to the relevant government officers, following which the project was put on the back burner.

The CM said NAB had been told that procurement of equipment for the project had not been started and that only a consultant was hired, but NAB did not withdraw its letter even then. He directed the chief secretary to meet with the IT team and other relevant officers with NAB in order to take the watchdog into confidence so the project could be started afresh.

In the last apex committee meeting, the Sindh Rangers had sought detention powers under the ATA. The CM directed the CS to send the matter to the cabinet for discussion and approval. On the matter of trial of street crime cases in anti-terrorism courts (ATCs), it was pointed out that the judiciary was of the view that street crime could not be tried in ATCs.

Participants of the meeting said that when guns are used in street crime, their cases can be tried in ATCs. The CM decided to introduce legal reforms in consultation with the Sindh Judicial Academy. He directed the law minister to expedite the process of consultation and bring the matter to the cabinet and the assembly.

On the land grabbing issue, the meeting was told that an anti-land encroachment operation was in progress and it was also producing results. Law enforcement agencies assured the meeting that the land grabbing issue was being dealt with an iron hand.

The home secretary told the meeting that he had held a number of meetings with bankers on the security of banks. “There is a standard operating procedure for banks security, but private banks mostly don’t follow it properly. Therefore, bankers have been directed to follow it strictly.”

Briefing the meeting on installation of trackers in motorcycles, the home minister said he had held a number of meetings with motorbikes’ manufacturers and assemblers. “A proper mechanism has been evolved to install factory-fitted trackers in all the bikes being sold in the market,” he said, adding that the final trial of the tracking device would be held on March 12.

Discussing the security audit of Dargahs (religious shrines), the CM constituted a committee to make necessary arrangements as recommended by the police department. In the next apex committee meeting, the officials part of the body would report on the progress of the plan’s implementation.

The meeting was told that standard registration number plates for motor vehicles with special security features were being introduced in the province, following which motorbikes would have clear number plates installed on the front and rear sides of the two-wheelers.

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