As the situation in Karachi remains grim, the government announced that the paramilitary rangers would head a targeted operation to curb extortion, kidnapping, terrorism and murder.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the media in Karachi after a special meeting of the federal cabinet which was rescheduled to Wednesday, that the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party government cannot be sidelined by the centre and the issue of resolving the situationi cannot be politicised. He said the number of those who would be in the dragnet of the operation is not known but they have been identified. Action will begin within a couple of days, he said and the Rangers will be assisted by the police. The intelligence agencies and the military have identified the people who must be arrested.
During a two -day visit to Karachi, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met a cross section of society including media persons and many concerns were identified. The Rangers said people they arrested were often released soon after. The cabinet has taken a policy decision in this regard
A committee headed by the prosecutor general would be formed to address lacuna in the prosecution. and the law of evidence and another committee headed by the Sindh chief minister would look at day to day affairs of the operation. This committee would have a ministry of interior representative, members of various security agencies and government people apart from Sindh government nominees. The committee should meet once a week, he said to review, manage, administer and control the operation.
The Inspector General(IG) of police will oversee a quick overhaul of the police and set a time frame, Mr. Khan said adding that the media too should cooperate by not rushing to break news and treating events like a 20 20 match.
He said policemen with criminal nexus should be arrested and an example should be set of such people who are giving the force a bad name. An operational committee would be headed by the director general Rangers with the IG police to oversee daily operations. He said the government would crackdown on unregistered SIM cards, of which there were about 40 lakh.Cellular services operators would be asked to adhere to rules strictly from now on while selling SIM cards, he said.
A monitoring committee with members of a cross section of civil society including media, retired bureaucrats and others would monitor the operation. He said that there was no question of rounding up innocent people and no one would be caught without proof. One police station in each district would be focal point for heinous cases and the Rangers will also be part of the investigation process.
Since 1997 the Rangers have been in Sindh at the request of the provincial government and now even the federal intelligence agencies will work under the Sindh chief minister. The Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah also ruled out the need for the army and said the Rangers can deliver.
Earlier before the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke of the arms smuggling, rising car thefts and criminals who were let off after arrest. He said on his recent visit to China people spoke of how Chinese had been killed in Gilgit and other places. He ruled out calling in the army and said the demand was farfetched. He said in his meetings people had expressed a lack of confidence in the police and he also felt that the police did not have the capability to tackle the situation in Karachi.