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February 20, 2020

Sindh cabinet blames rising crime rate on Centre’s attitude over IGP issue

Karachi

February 20, 2020

The Sindh cabinet met on Wednesday with Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in chair and expressed reservations over the attitude of the federal government on the issue of the transfer of the current IGP “that has been causing uncertainty in the police department and worsening the law and order situation across the province”.

The advisory group observed that the law and order situation had worsened to such an extent that a sitting MPA and member of the Public Safety Commission, Shahnaz Ansari, was killed even though she had requested the IGP for security on February 12, and he had received her application on February 13, but he took two days to upload it in the complaint system for the Naushahro Feroze SSP, and by that time she had been killed, but she could not get the security she had requested for.

The cabinet expressed displeasure that the main suspect of the incident was yet to be arrested and only two people had so far been taken into custody.

The group also discussed the murder of journalist Aziz Memon, in whose case the police had so far failed to arrest any suspect. The CM said he had sent Education Minister Saeed Ghani to meet Memon’s family.

Ghani met with his brother Hafiz Memon and on the CM’s behalf he offered registering an FIR against the people who he believed to be responsible for the murder.

The CM said he was ready to order any kind of inquiry, including a judicial one, but the family would have to choose the method of investigation. Ghani said the bereaved family wanted the Nawabshah SSP to conduct an inquiry. The CM directed the home secretary to coordinate with the police and the family for transferring the inquiry from Naushahro Feroze to Nawabshah.

Karachi crimes

The cabinet was told that the CPLC had released crime figures that showed the law and order situation was worsening in Karachi. In December last year 128 four-wheelers were snatched or stolen, and the next month the number jumped to 191.

The recovery rate of four-wheelers has also decreased from 34.38 per cent in December to 24.61 per cent in January. Two-wheeler snatchings and thefts in December was recorded at 2,760 and the number increased to 2,789. The recovery rate of two-wheelers decreased by 5.32 per cent in January.

Nineteen people were killed in December and the figure increased to 30 the following month. Phone snatchings in December was recorded at 4,476 and the number increased to 4,650.

The cabinet blamed the worsening law and order situation in Sindh on the uncertainty the Centre had created by stopping the IGP’s transfer.

Agreement

The cabinet endorsed the expected agreement on the establishment of a friendly cooperation relationship between the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau of China and the Sindh police.

The Chinese authorities would train the provincial police in crime detection and riot combating, and would share crime data with each other. The advisory group allowed the police to sign the agreement.

Wheat plan

The cabinet approved a plan under which no flour mills will be declared procurement reserve centres because of misappropriation cases. It also decided to allot district-wise bar-coded bags to be distributed among growers in Sindh.

The group decided that only those officers would be posted as centre or warehouse incharge against whom no case had been pending. The posted incharge at warehouses would continue till the end of the process of procurement of wheat and its shifting to safe places.

To ensure fair distribution of Bardana among the growers, district-wise procurement target would be fixed on proportionate basis, meaning the share of the production of the respective districts.

E-stamping

The Board of Revenue (BoR) told the cabinet that it was going to introduce e-stamping under which recovery would reach Rs10 billion annually. A piece of software has been developed in-house by a team of automation of the Stamps & Registration Project. The model envisages issuance of e-stamp paper through designated banks on payment of cash throughout the province. The CM directed the BoR’s senior member to execute the service level agreement with banks, particularly with the Sindh Bank.

Revenue Minister Makhdoom Mahboob Zaman said the State Bank has agreed to allow the National Bank to be the BoR’s collecting agent, but it was reluctant to declare the Sindh Bank as the collecting agent.

The CM said the Bank of Punjab has already been declared the collecting agent, so why the Sindh Bank should not be assigned the same responsibilities, and directed the finance secretary to resolve the matter.

Withholding tax

The excise & taxation department told the cabinet that it collected the withholding tax (WHT) as obliged under the Income Tax Ordinance. The FBR asked the department to collect the WHT on its behalf without seeking the consent of the Sindh government.

The excise department said the FBR has so far detected Rs8 billion at source against assumption of the WHT, so the cabinet urged the CM to withdraw the collecting facility. But on the request of the majority members, the CM decided to write to the FBR to seek consent of the provincial government for the WHT’s collection by the excise department on the FBR’s behalf.

Financial support

A request was presented by Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh that the Sindh Nooriabad Power Project of 100MW was operating in profit and providing 100MW to the K-Electric.

He said that due to some NAB cases, commercial banks were reluctant to give it bank guarantees that were mandatory to make cash flow of the plant or company smooth.

The CM said the federal government was already providing 600MWs less power than the requirement of Karachi and if the project stopped working, the city would be deprived of another 100MW. The cabinet constituted a committee under the chief secretary to talk to the NBP and the Sindh Bank for issuing Rs2 billion banks guarantees.

Regularisation

The education department told the cabinet that 407 teachers were appointed through the Iqra University’s testing service, of them 147 have been regularised under relevant act. The remaining 260 teachers who joined after 2013 could be regularised.

The CM constituted a sub-committee to formulate a new law or amend the 2013 act so that other contract employees could be regularised. The chief executive directed all the departments to send a list of their contract employees to the committee so that they could also be considered for regularisation. The committee would make all the recommendations within a month.

Captive power plant

The energy minister presented another item under which he said six captive power plants have claimed tariff differential amount of Rs3.37 billion. He said the Sindh government paid Rs2.31 billion to the plants in 2017-18 and then no payment was made.

One of the plants filed a suit in court and claimed Rs266.2 million, which it was allowed. The CM constituted a committee with the finance and energy secretaries and co-option of a technical member to verify the claim and then pay the differential amount.