KARACHI – The larger bench of the Supreme Court resumed hearing of Karachi law and order case here on Wednesday. The SC scolded high police officials who produced reports on law-enforcement agencies’ performance in dealing with criminals.
Sindh Home Secretary Wassem Ahmed, Inspector General of Sindh Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari, Additional IG police Iqbal Mehmood, Advocate General Sindh Abdul Fatah Malik and other officials appeared before the court. At the outset of the hearing, Additional IG police Iqbal Mehmood appeared before a four-member judge bench, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, at the apex court’s Karachi Registry and submitted a rejoinder about investigation of various cases.
Mehmood told the court that 630 criminals have been arrested during different police raids over the past few months. He told the court that 2,300 people lost their lives in targeted attacks last year.
Justice Amir Hani enquired about the number of investigation officers in Karachi. To which, the AIG replied “I think 250 officers are working.” The reply irked the court as Justice Hani said only 169 officers had submitted their reports so far. On which, the AIG said some 250 investigation officers are working in Karachi.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain said that the police department had confessed in its report that over 22,000 absconding offenders were roaming free in the City. “Then how the life of a common citizen can be saved? How can free elections be ensured in worst law and order conditions? Who should we blame about absence of peace from the City,” Justice Khilji said.
Justice Khawaja asked how the police can deal with 22,000 criminals with insufficient manpower. “This task is impossible for police while the Rangers are not proving effective in Karachi despite consuming heavy budget.” Justice Amir Hani inquired IG Sindh Police about the number of cases that were categorised as “A” class involving target killings, and asked how a murder case can be categorised as “A” class within a week.
The bench later adjourned the hearing of the case till Thursday (today). Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked that untrained perpetrators were kidnapping people for ransom, while trained culprits give away slips (extortion chits) and collect extortion money in the city.
Senior Superintendent of Police Niaz Khoso told the court that since Sindh Arms Act-2012 and law for protection of witness are not put in place, unrest in the city will likely to continue. The court observed that even though there is consensus of police over legislation in this regard but legislation is not being carried out. The court said that there will be sharp decline in the lawlessness in city if appropriate legislation is made, which will also give police adequate powers to deal the situation. Sindh Home Secretary Waseem Ahmed apprised the court that he has addressed a letter to the federal law secretary for the uniform legislation regarding licenses of arms in the country. The court said that legislation regarding arms licenses falls within the provincial domain and provinces are empowered to legislate in the subject matter.