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Govt okays targeted action in Karachi

23 August, 2011

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KARACHI: The Pakistan People's Party government on Monday finally decided to crack down on criminals in the provincial metropolis by launching an "impartial targeted operation".

The plan was approved on Monday night in a high-level meeting held at the Chief Minister's House with Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in the chair.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon told the media that Rangers and police had been given shoot on sight orders for criminals and kidnappers. The two forces will launch an across-the-board targeted operation and without any political interference.

Officials confirmed that areas for the targeted operation were pinpointed where raids would be conducted to arrest the criminals. No political pressure on this count would be accepted.

Briefing the media at the Chief Minister's House late Monday after the second cabinet meeting, Sharjeel said the prime minister said that the federal government would provide all possible assistance and support to the Sindh government in this operation.

The minister said the to call out army was out of question as police and Rangers are capable to control the situation. He said police were demoralized after the murder of 80 cops in target killings in the previous regime. He said those killed had taken part in the operation in Karachi in 1994-5.

Sources said the targeted operation is the first step towards restoration of peace. In the second step the government would hold talks with the MQM and the prime minister is confident that the party would rejoin the government.

Sources said Dr Zulfiqar Mirza who criticized Rehman Malik in the morning meeting of the cabinet shook hands with the interior minister at the second cabinet meeting held after Iftar on the request of the PM. Both Mirza and Malik also said sorry to each others and the Prime Minister told the cabinet that Rehman Malik would cooperate with the provincial government during the operation.

Sources said PML-F Minister Imtiaz Shaikh suggested that control of the federal government agencies be given to Sindh government to make the operation a success. PML-Q Minister Haleem Adil Shaikh opposed army operation in Karachi and suggested that not only that Rangers should restore order in Karachi but the force should also be moved to replace the army at the borders.

Earlier presiding over a meeting of the Sindh cabinet, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani warned that some one else will come and take action if the Sindh government failed to take above-the-board action on merit to stop bleeding in Karachi. He conveyed to the Sindh government in clear terms that bleeding of the city must stop forthwith.

The prime minister directed the Sindh government to take action against those responsible for the mayhem. The prime minister directed the provincial government and the heads of law enforcement agencies to take stern and indiscriminate action against the culprits who had made the city unsafe for the people. "This is unacceptable and the culprits must be brought to justice by awarding them exemplary punishment," the prime minister said.

He made it clear that the situation in the city must be brought under control. He urged the coalition partners and other stakeholders to jell together and extend full support to the law enforcement agencies, which were fully committed to protect the lives and properties of the citizens. Gilani said the law enforcement agencies are fully capable of delivering effectively with the full backing of all the stakeholders.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Shah also attended the Sindh cabinet meeting. However the ANP minister did not attend the meeting in protest while the MQM has already declared that its ministers have tendered resignations. Sources said earlier President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani tried to convince the MQM to attend the Sindh cabinet meeting as the resignations of the MQM ministers were not accepted.

APP adds: The second cabinet meeting decided that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Interior Minister Rehman Malik would monitor the implementation of decisions made in the meeting. They would inform the prime minister about the implementation of the decisions on regular basis.

Online adds: Earlier, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani met Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan and Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah at Governor House and discussed the city's situation and the measures taken by the provincial government to bring peace to the provincial metropolis. Interior Minister Rehman Malik was also present at the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the overall situation in Karachi and discussed various proposals to bring normalcy to the city. Prime Minister Gilani directed the provincial government to take indiscriminate action against the culprits and bring them to justice. He said all possible measures should be taken to protect the lives and properties of the people and to overcome those breaking the law.

He said there was a need to further strengthen the security agencies so that they could be enabled to control the situation and bring peace to the city. Prime Minister Gilani said all political forces, including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Awami National Party, besides other stakeholders should be taken on board to devise a workable strategy to improve the situation in Karachi. Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah briefed the prime minister on the measures taken by the provincial government to improve the situation in Karachi and bring the criminals to justice.

End.

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