Karachi - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while chairing a meeting with representatives of political parties on Tuesday, declared he would not do politics nor would he compromise on the Karachi law and order. The PM also dropped a strong hint that his government in the Centre would do all it may require to restore peace to the city, including amending laws.
Representatives of the opposition and ruling parties praised the efforts and initiative of the federal government and extended their support for a targeted operation against criminals. They also suggested deweaponisation of the city and depoliticisation of police.
Ahead of a crucial federal cabinet meeting scheduled for today (Wednesday) on Karachi’s law and order situation, the prime minister arrived in the megacity on Tuesday morning and held meetings with the political parties and traders to get input on law and order.
After a meeting with Sindh Governor Dr Isrhratul Ebad and Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah at the Governor’s House, the prime minister presided over a multi-party conference attended by representatives of PPP, MQM, Awami National Party (ANP), Jamaat-e-Islami, JUI-F, PML-F, PML-N, JUP-Noorani and Sunni Tehreek.
However, representatives of PTI did not attend the APC. Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid and other federal ministers also attended the meeting.
Addressing the political leaders and traders at separate meetings, the prime minister recalled he had dismissed his own party’s provincial government in Sindh over the law and order problem in Karachi, declaring he would not do politics nor would compromise on it.
Nawaz said the government would ensure law and order in the city and amend the law in this regard if needed. He further said the government was ready to provide all resources and powers to police and Rangers in this regard. He asked representatives of the parties to provide guidance and valuable input to improve law and order situation in the port city.
Law and order, as things stand now, is a provincial subject. Apparently, this is why the federal government has insisted on several occasions that the Karachi clean-up operation should be led by the Sindh CM. The PM speaking of amending the laws to restore peace in Karachi can be seen in this context; as the Centre may like to lead from the front if the situation did not improve under the recent push.
Nawaz Sharif said the country was facing many problems like terrorism and loadshedding and urged the political parties to unite to face the challenges. He underlined the need for use of maximum powers to counter challenges like terrorism and loadshedding. The PM declared no investor would invest if there was no peace in the country. He said peace and economic growth were interlinked.
Referring to the suggestions floated by the representatives of the political parties, the prime minister said some demanded military action; others wanted a targeted operation while some others proposed deployment of Rangers.
Without naming any party, he said some of the parties had powerful public mandate and it was the policy of the federal government to respect their mandate. He asked the political parties to extend their cooperation in the greater national interest.
The prime minister said there was no dislike for any party and asked the political representatives to frankly discuss the issue of law and order in Karachi without any reservations. He was of the firm belief that peaceful Karachi would benefit the coming generations.
Almost all the political leaders praised the move of the prime minister and announced their support and cooperation for any step for a targeted operation against criminals and miscreants in the city.
PPP Sindh General Secretary Taj Haider and PPP Karachi President Abdul Qadir Patel represented their party and announced an all-out support for the federal government’s initiatives.
The PPP leaders urged the federal government to launch deweaponisation and provide protection to witnesses. They said no one demanded an army operation as consensus was visible among the political parties on a targeted operation without any discrimination of areas or languages.
The PPP leaders also proposed that courts should not acquit alleged criminals without solid evidence of their innocence, demanding more facilities to police and a free hand to the Sindh chief minister.
PML-F leader Imtiaz Shaikh said he recommended a continuous targeted operation against criminals through secret information. He also suggested depoliticisation of police and Rangers as well as facilities for the law-enforcement agencies.
MQM Coordination Committee member Haider Abbas Rizvi and Senator Babar Ghouri said they had presented suggestions to the prime minister on how to keep peace in the city. They demanded an operation against extortion mafia, criminals, extremists and banned outfits with an assurance that no innocent citizen would be victimised during the operation. They added victimisation of innocent citizens would disrupt the prime minister’s peace process.
Jammat-e-Islami Karachi Chief Muhammad Hussain Mehanti praised the move of the prime minister, saying his party was not consulted on any issue during the last five years. Mehanti said JI had told the prime minister that some political parties were providing shelter to criminals. He alleged that in the past, the governor’s house used to release criminals while investigation into numerous incidents like the May 12 remained incomplete.
Pakistan Sunni Tehreek Chief Sarwat Ijaz Qadri called for immediate removal of the SHOs appointed on political basis and said Nasiruallah Khan Babar-like personality was required for restoration of peace in Karachi. He suggested supervision of the proposed targeted operation by the civil society.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) Maulana Anas Noorani said the Karachi situation was getting from bad to worse day by day, suggesting deweaponisation of the port city.
ANP leader Shahi Syed said no police officer in the city wanted to perform his duties as those taking part in the operations had been killed by criminals.
PML-N leaders Saleem Zia and Irfanullah Marwat said the extortion mafia was active in the city, demanding a targeted action against them.
On the basis of the suggestions put forward by political leaders, the federal cabinet is likely to unveil a plan of a targeted operation against criminals and miscreants in the city on Wednesday (today).