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October 22, 2019

Laws to be amended to give exemplary punishment to street criminals, PA told


October 22, 2019

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that even a single death in the province due to a crime incident is alarming for him, and announced that criminal laws will be changed to curb the menace of street crime and give an exemplary punishment to criminals.

The CM, who also holds the additional portfolio of the provincial home department, stated this on the floor of the Sindh Assembly as he responded to a call-attention notice of opposition legislator Syed Abdul Rasheed of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal. The call-attention notice pertained to the deaths of 298 people in acts of street crime lately.

Speaking during the session, the chief minister said that although the law and order situation had improved in the province, once more the situation of peace had deteriorated recently as a person had been killed in a firing incident in the Azizabad area of the city. He said he had taken cognizance of the incident.

He conceded that District Central in the city had witnessed the most number of incidents of street crimes and other forms of lawlessness. He said that up to 18 percent of incidents of lawlessness being recorded on a daily basis were street crimes.

Shah added that the recent price hike and unemployment had also led to an increase in criminal activities. “We want the economic situation to improve and we discourage the trend of people committing crimes due to joblessness,” he said.

He said the Sindh Rangers deployed in the city had been vested with special policing powers so that they could also act against people committing street crimes. He said intelligence support being available to police was being beefed up so that police could effectively combat the menace of street crimes.

According to the chief minister, the law and order situation in the city had improved after the targeted operation was conducted in Karachi, but more work was required to be done to bring further improvement in this regard.

Speaking during the question hour of the session, the CM said that the delay on part of his government in issuing the provincial Finance Commission’s Award for districts was due to a delay in the release of the new NFC award by the federal government.

He said that they had been trying their best to announce the new PFC award as early as possible. He said it was the former PPP-led federal government that had given the last NFC award in the country, but later governments had faced a shortfall of up to Rs55 billion in a fiscal year. He said that the tax collection by the Centre had decreased to a historic low during the past financial year 2018-19.

Resolution passed

The house through a majority vote passed a resolution against the decision of the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) of granting a no-objection certificate for establishing a hydropower project on the Chashma-Jehlum Link Canal as the move could result in a further water shortage in the province.

The resolution was moved by MPA Abdul Aziz Junejo of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party. Speaking on the resolution, the CM said that IRSA had granted approval to the proposal of establishing a power plant along the CJ Link Canal, and earlier the federal government had been desisting from appointing its nominee for IRSA belonging to Sindh as per the past tradition.

Shah said that earlier he had once more sent a letter to the prime minister on 18th October on the issue of the federal government’s representative for IRSA who should belong to Sindh, but the PM didn’t respond to any of his correspondence on the issue.

“This is an important issue of Sindh as the prime minister doesn’t listen to us, and we hope that the PM will listen to us, and federal ministers should be told that the federation’s representative for IRSA should belong to Sindh,” said the CM while pointing towards an opposition legislator of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which runs the federal government.

He said the PM not responding to his correspondence on the issue was like adding salt to their injuries. He said injustice should not be done to his province. He said the PM did not even like to talk with him.

Shah said that there should be no compromise on the rights and water share of the province. Speaking on the resolution, the leader of opposition in the house belonging to the PTI said that they had raised the same issue in their meeting with the PM earlier n the day. He said that the resolution had been brought to the house in a timely fashion as it was meant to oppose any move against reduction in water being supplied to Sindh.

Firdous Shamim Naqvi claimed that the PM had also directed that NOC given to the hydropower project should be withdrawn in case implementation of the project resulted in reduction in the water supply to Karachi. He said the PM had also asked that provincial government should be satisfied over this issue.

He said that no power plant should be established anywhere in the country whose operation could affect the water supply to Sindh. He said the federal and provincial governments should work together to ensure just water distribution among the provinces.

Earlier, the opposition legislators vociferously protested in the house as they were not given the opportunity to speak on the resolution.