Karachi operation to continue despite hiccups

  • Sharif unhappy with weak prosecution, investigation procedures in Karachi but says there will be no compromise on law and order
  • COAS says operation not targeted against any political party, must not be abandoned midway
  • Sindh CM spars with federal interior minister, calls for frequent meetings of provincial apex committee to evaluate progress of anti-crime campaign

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday expressed his disappointment over weak prosecution and investigation procedures that are being implemented in Karachi, as Army Chief General Raheel Sharif stressed that the operation in the port city could not be abandoned midway.

Chairing a high-level meeting on the law and order situation in Karachi at Sindh’s Governor House, Prime Minister Sharif said that business activities have picked up in Karachi after an improvement in law and order and that foreign investment is being redirected to the country from abroad.

“There will be no compromise on the law and order situation of Karachi,” he said.

The PM and COAS were in Karachi to sort out the issue of the Rangers’ deployment in the provincial capital city as the term of the paramilitary force’s operation expired two days earlier, and to discuss the progress of the anti-crime operations being carried out by Sindh Rangers and other law enforcement agencies.

The meeting was also attended by Karachi Corps Commander Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, Director General Rangers Sindh Major General Bilal Akbar, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Inspector General Sindh Ghulam Haider Jamali, Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Provincial Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah, Sindh Home Minister Suhail Anwar Siyal and the Sindh home secretary.

“The Karachi operation should have been initiated eight years ago,” the premier said during the meeting, adding that the decision to undertake the operation was made with consensus. “The federal government fully supports the Sindh government for peace in Karachi,” he said, adding that the targets of the Karachi operation are very clear.

Briefing the meeting, Sindh Police Inspector General (IG) Ghulam Haider Jamali said that there are 2,688 cases underway at Karachi ATCs.

“There were 66 cases handled during the month of November,” he said. Out of these, 30 cases resulted in convictions while the remaining resulted in acquittals, he added. “Assailants involved in the attacks on Rangers and the Military Police personnel have been caught,” he stated.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah also said on the occasion that the security operation in Karachi will continue till the elimination of the last terrorist in the metropolis. In order to expedite the process of prosecution, 200 prosecutors have been appointed, he said.

“The Sindh Police should be given access to APCs, additional arms and the NADRA database in order to effectively manage the city,” he said, as he complained to Federal Interior Minister Nisar about the raids of Federal Investigation Agency on various provincial departments.

The Sindh CM also recommended that the apex committee should be summoned as often as possible.

“The Karachi operation seems to be lacking the amount of support it initially witnessed when the operation commenced,” he said.

The Sindh CM also exchanged heated words with the interior minister over the jurisdiction and scope of Rangers’ raids and Karachi operation.

The sources said that Nisar complained that the Sindh government had promised to extend the Rangers’ powers but it had yet to live up to its pledge. He said the government has been pushing for extension of the operation’s scope to interior Sindh.

Terming the Karachi operation apolitical and impartial, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Raheel Sharif on Monday said the ongoing operation in the city was not being carried out against any political party.

Addressing the high-level meeting, Gen Raheel said the operation by Rangers and police was against terrorists and their sympathizers and facilitators.

The network of terrorists and their facilitators has been dismantled in the country by the actions taken by the security forces, he was quoted as saying. Better cooperation between federal and provincial governments was needed for durable peace, he added.

Ahead of the high-level meeting, Army Chief Gen Raheel also chaired a meeting at Corps Headquarters Karachi to review security situation in the port city and rest of Sindh earlier in the day.

Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, DG ISI Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar and DG Rangers Major Gen Bilal Akbar attended the meeting.

Gen Raheel lauded Army, Rangers, intelligence and other law enforcement agencies for noticeable improvement in security situation through ongoing operations and for peaceful conduct of Local Bodies elections.