KARACHI - An indiscriminate and an even-handed action would be taken against criminals to restore peace in Karachi, asserted Rehman Malik on Sunday, issuing a 24-hour ultimatum to all political groups to remove their party flags from official buildings and public properties.

“All political parties should remove their flags from official buildings, electric/telephone poles and public properties within 24 hours; otherwise these flags would be taken down by police,” announced the federal interior minister while talking to the media, after co-chairing a meeting on the law and order situation in Sindh along with Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah.

Held at the CM’s House, the meeting exhorted all political groups to make sure their ranks had not been infiltrated by violence-mongers or such workers. “If party flags are not removed within the given timeframe, SHO concerned will be held responsible,” he added.

According to Malik, police patrolling has been intensified in seven localities identified as sensitive. “Snipers have also been deputed on Banaras flyover,” he added.

It may be mentioned here that the two-and-a-half-kilometre long flyover has three blind curves that make detection of any criminal trying to loot a passenger or commuter difficult.

The minister claimed that a number of possible terrorist activities had been prevented because of the information the intelligence agencies provided beforehand. He said the situation could have been worse, if the government had no intelligence information on time. Malik appreciated the Sindh and Karachi police chiefs for restoring peace, and said he himself toured the trouble areas along with senior police officials to assess the situation and find ways to control further incidents of violence.

The Rangers DG and AIG Police would identify the most sensitive roads and areas for extra deployment of force. There will be creation of zones as per the sensitivity of an area concerned, while SHOs will ensure public participation in the peace process.  The meeting decided to set up a divisional intelligence committee comprising senior policemen that may supplement the efforts to ensure peace in the city.

Speaking to the media, Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan said the police and rangers had taken concrete measures to ensure peace at any cost.