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Sindh govt to accelerate anti-terror operations

An Unsplash representative photo.
An Unsplash representative photo.  

KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to stamp out threats including terror outfits, drug peddlers, street crimes and dacoits in the Katcha area with full force with the help of intelligence-based, well-coordinated and targeted operations.

The decision was carried out during the Apex Committee’s 28th meeting chaired by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at the CM House in Karachi on Thursday.

The decision was taken after the recent spike in terror incidents in the country. The high-level huddle also assessed overall intelligence reports presented by the different security and law enforcement agencies.

“The operation against the bandits must be decisive and cleansing once and for all,” the CM said.

The meeting also discussed the terror threat with reference to a recent blast in Islamabad as well as militancy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The meeting also decided to strengthen further intelligence-based operations in Karachi.

According to an official statement, all the agencies would share their intelligence information with each other and assist in conducting anti-terror operations. “The guidelines of the federal government for the elimination of terrorism would be implemented accordingly.”

During the meeting, the chief minister was also briefed about the police deployment in the upcoming local body elections scheduled to be held on January 15.

There will be 4,995 polling stations where 25,340 police personnel would be deployed, the statement added.

“A Quick Response Force (QRF) has been assigned to provide security at 2,728 buildings. There would be 273 QRF units to be mobilised with 564 mobiles and 2,833 personnel. Apart from that deployment, there would be a force of 257 in reserve.”

At the outset of the meeting, the issue of street crime came under discussion. IG Police Ghulam Nabi apprised the meeting that four different kinds of crimes such as motorbike snatching, car snatching, mobile snatching and robberies are constituting ‘street crime.’

He said that 85,000 incidents of street crime occurred in the year 2022 which means that 7,000 were happening every month in the city. “If 7,000 incidents are divided in a month or with 30.5 days it would come to 229 cases per day.”

The provincial police chief went on to say that 50% of the total street crime cases happened to be of bike snatching — meant one street crime happened to be taking place in the port city every day. “During 2022 the police carried out 2,258 encounters, busted 1,259 gangs, arrested 16,621 dacoits/terrorists and killed 204,” he added.

Showing a fact sheet about the release of repeated/habitual criminals, the IG said that 1,655 criminals who had already committed street crime at least thrice were arrested but they were bailed out within one week to six months of their arrest.

He added that eight criminals were released within one week, 26 within two weeks, 107 in one month, 470 in three months, 352 in six months, and 692 over six months.

During the briefing, the chief minister also asked Adviser Law Murtaza Wahab about the progress on the passing of the Sindh Habitual Offenders Monitoring Bill-2021. Wahab said the bill has been sent to the Standing Committee on Home for soliciting public opinion as per the rules.

The habitual/repeated criminals will be e-tagged once the law is passed, according to the official statement.

The Sindh CM also directed the law department to expedite the process. The meeting decided to continue the strategy to crack down on the menace through frequent combing operations in slum areas, continuing snap checking during the peak hours, actions against proclaimed offenders and absconders, and surveillance and action against bailed-out criminals and repeated offenders.

The IG police also briefed that the Katcha areas are traditional safe havens for criminals due to inaccessibility and no-go areas for police. “These criminals use these hideouts to perpetrate kidnapping for ransom and extortion, both through honey trapping and road robberies.”

“The police face pressure due to kidnapping and is forced to negotiate the release of the abductees which causes disrepute, enhances the morale of dacoits, and increases the frequency of crime. Kinetic action by police results in casualties on both sides and violent reprisal by criminals,” the police chief told the meeting.

During the huddle, the CM also decided that three IGs of Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan would sit together and formulate a complete plan to launch an operation against the dacoits in the Katcha area for which all the law enforcement agencies would support them.

“The operations must be so potent that the threat of dacoits could be eliminated once and for all,” the CM added.

Moreover, Karachi Corps Commander Lieutenant General Babar Iftikhar said that the army and Rangers would also help the police in the anti-terror operations.

Home Secretary Saeed Mangnijo told the meeting that CM Murad has recently notified 275 dacoits with a total head money outlay of Rs465 million which would assist in their arrest or neutralisation.

Karachi AIG Javed Odho also briefed the meeting regarding narcotic peddling that with the help of Rangers, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Special Branch have finalised a list of 735 narcotic peddlers, of which 431 have been detained, 333 are imprisoned, 98 are on bail and 304 are on the loose. Similarly, out of 376 narcotic peddlers operating in Hyderabad, 212 have been arrested, 91 are in jail, 121 are on bail and 164 are at large.

In Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad Rangers, out of 107 drug peddlers, 80 have been rounded up, 47 have been sent to jail, 33 are on bail and 27 are at large.

In Sukkur and Larkana regions, out of 1,620 drug peddlers, 854 have been arrested, 518 sent to jail, 273 are on bail, and 766 are on the loose.

The chief minister also directed the DG Rangers and IG police to launch an operation against drug peddlers effectively. Rangers DG Major General Azhar Waqas also gave his presentation in which he discussed the Rangers’ activities against criminals.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, Naasir Shah, Sharjeel Memon, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, Commissioner Karachi Iqbal Memon, Personal Secretary to CM Fayaz Jatoi, AIG Special Branch Khadim Rind, Sindh Prosecutor General, provincial heads of intelligence agencies and other officials.

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