KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has approved Rs8 million for the establishment of an explosive lab in Karachi.

Presiding over a preparatory meeting for the forthcoming Apex Committee meeting here at the CM House on Monday, he also issued directives for procuring a suitable piece of land in the city for a forensic lab.

The meeting was attended by Adviser to CM on Law Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Siddique Memon, Sindh Police IG AD Khawaja, Home Secretary Shakil Mangnijo, CTD Additional IG Sanaullah Abbasi, Additional IG Karachi Mushtaq Maher, Commissioner Karachi Aijaz Khan, Advocate General Zameer Ghumro, Prosecutor General Shahadat Awan and others.

When the chief minister sought report from the concerned officials on the audit of accounts of welfare organisations and NOCs issued to them for collecting hides on Eidul Azha, Chief Secretary Siddique Memon replied that he had issued directives to the commissioners.

Commissioner Karachi Aijaz Khan informed the meeting that he had issued 687 NOCs to welfare organisations for collecting hides.

Murad directed him to issue instructions to these organisations to get their generated amount audited and submit reports in this regard.

Discussing the under-construction anti-terrorism courts, the CM said that six buildings were ready at Central Jail in which courts could be housed.

Sindh Police IG AD Khawaja said that he had deputed a force of 600 policemen, known as jail police, to escort the under- trial prisoners (UTPs) from the Central Jail to ATC Courts at Clifton for their hearings.

The chief minister, however, argued that it was quite risky to send UTPs to the courts from Central Jail regularly.

“When the prisoners, charged with committing terrorism, reach there (ATCs), they stay there for few hours which is again more dangerous,” Murad pointed out. “I would suggest you to shift six ATCs from Clifton to new buildings constructed on the premises of Central Jail for security reasons,” he proposed.

“At this stage, when we are at war with terrorists and enemies of the country, we cannot take risks,” he told the chief secretary, and added that within next three months, 14 other buildings would be ready for housing new ATCs. 

He also directed his Principal Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch to coordinate with a contracting firm and get 14 ATC buildings ready within next three months.

Reviewing the decisions taken at the last meeting of the Apex Committee held on August 31, the chief minister stressed the need for establishing a forensic lab.

IG Police AD Khawaja said that he was searching for a suitable piece of land, located in a secure area, for the lab.

“However, an explosive lab could be established, if the government approves an amount of Rs8 million,” Khawaja added.

The chief minister approved the amount and signaled him to go ahead.

Briefing the chief minister on a decision taken by the Apex Committee regarding establishment of an anti-riot unit, the IG said that he had initially raised two anti-riot units; one in South Zone and the other in Hyderabad, having 300 employees.

Home Secretary Shakil Mangnijo said that he was working on setting up anti-riot units at divisional headquarters.

To this, the chief minister directed IG and home secretary to establish one more unit Karachi.

In the last Apex Committee meeting, it was decided that the explosives being sold by registered companies be checked.

To this the chief secretary said that he had issued necessary directives to all the commissioners to monitor the purchase and sale of explosives in the market and keep him posted on the developments.

Talking about introduction of new number plates with security features, including tracking system, in all kinds of vehicles and bikes, the chief secretary said that the Excise & Taxation Department had started consultative process in this regard.

The CM directed chief secretary to expedite the process and implement it.

The IG police told the chief minister that 1100 force for CPEC projects security had been raised, while the recruitment for the remaining 900 persons was in progress. 

Earlier, the IGP and CTD Additional IG Sanaullah Abbasi briefed Murad on the Nazimabad incident.

They told him that some suspects had been arrested and the incident was being investigated from different angles.

To this, the chief minister asked the IG Police to coordinate with other agencies and get this case worked out. “It is a fourth incident one after the other and cannot be ignored,” he said, and directed the concerned officials to keep him updated on the progress.