Zardari orders legislation on witness protection, sale of SIMs

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President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday directed the Sindh government to work on a legislation that ensures better protection for witnesses as well as a policy to halt the sale of mobile SIMs at retail outlets.
Presiding over a law and order meeting at Sindh Chief Minister’s House, President Zardari was given a briefing on the law and order situation of the city by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, who also holds the Home Ministry portfolio. Interior Minister Rehman Malik also gave an overview of the security situation.
Observing that one of the major hindrances in effective prosecution was witnesses backing out due to pressure from the accused parties, the president advised the Sindh law minister to draft a suitable legislation for the protection of the witnesses and their families after consulting all stakeholders. He advised the government to study the model of witness protection laws adopted in other countries in wake of rising militant activities for this purpose. Earlier, the president was briefed about how notorious criminals were being released owing to lack of evidence against. Zardari was informed that witnesses afraid of reprisals declined to come forward and record statements.
Zardari emphasised that the maintenance of law and order was a shared responsibility of all the political forces in the province and concerted efforts should be made by all concerned for ensuring peace in the metropolitan city.
Taking notice of the use of mobile phones by militants and criminals in terrorism and other related activities, Zardari asked the Sindh government to work out a plan so that no Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) are delivered at retail shops or outlets of mobile companies, instead, they should be posted to the applicant’s address as mentioned on their Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC). Taking notice of the proliferation of weapons in Karachi, Zardari observed that arms licenses should be “Smart Card” based so as to ensure that no fictitious licenses were issued.