KARACHI - In order to curb terrorism and crime in Karachi, the Sindh government has formally announced its support to the Pakistan Protection Ordinance and directed the Sindh police and Rangers to implement it in letter and spirit under which they have been given many powers, including detention of criminals up to 90 days.

In addition, a request has been sent to the apex court to set up five more anti-terrorism courts (ATCs) to hear terror cases. The provincial government has asked the Sindh advocate general to consult the judiciary in this regard.

A high-level meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah at the CM House on Wednesday evening, has decided to speed up the process of inducting at least 200 new prosecution officers and as many investigation officers to strengthen the system.

The chief minister, while appreciating the efforts of the Sindh police for preparing a list of 500 known criminals, has directed the authorities to make it public with head money to be recommended by the home department.

The chief minister was of the view that the Sindh government would not leave the heirs of martyrs from Sindh police alone; instead, it had planned to look after them by providing one job, one plot and Rs 2 million to each family of of police martyrs.

He announced an amount of Rs 230 million for legal heirs of the policemen martyred in the line of duty as financial assistance. He said land would be earmarked for a housing society for the families of Sindh police martyrs.

The chief minister expressed his satisfaction over the ongoing targeted operation against terrorists, extortionists and kidnappers for ransom, directing the police and Rangers engaged in the operation to act against terrorists more aggressively, vigorously and ruthlessly to eradicate these elements.

He said the achievements made by the Sindh police and Rangers had been recognised even by the prime minister of Pakistan and civil society, but the people of Karachi and Pakistan were expecting more results from them. He added he was sure that the law-enforcing agencies (LEAs) engaged in this operation were strong enough to come up to the expectations of the people for which the Sindh government would provide all legal and administrative support to them.

The CM said that due to vigorous action against the criminals, criminals were on the run. He said there was no surge in sectarian confrontation and termed sectarian offences committed by those criminals who wanted to create harassment on one side and to engage the LEAs on the other to create some space for them to flee away, but the government wouldn’t allow them to run away safely.

However, he expressed his reservations over the performance of prosecution side and said that proper convictions would prove deterrence against the criminals.

The chief minister said: “We have broken the network and financial sources of terrorists in Karachi by arresting extortionists, raiding drug dens and controlling robberies in the city. Now the criminals were in a weaker position.”

Earlier, Sindh Police Inspector General Shahid Nadeem Baloch briefed the meeting and said 7,376 raids were conducted during the targeted operation launched since September 2013, in which 509 encounters took place. He said 81 criminals were killed in these encounters while 10,179 criminals, including 3,572 proclaimed offenders and absconders, were arrested. He said that out of remaining 6,607 arrested criminals, 246 were involved in target killings, terrorism, extortion and kidnapping for ransom while 619 were involved in murders, robberies and street crime. Similarly, 5,742 were arrested under Arms Act, narcotics and other crimes.

The Sindh police inspector general while briefing the meeting on the status of arrested criminals, said of these 6,607 criminals, 1,403 were in judicial custody, 385 in police custody, 1162 released on bail, 3,603 in jail, 43 convicted and 11 acquitted by courts. He said challans of 85 cases with 116 accused had been presented to the ATCs.

The IGP revealed that 3 LMG, 63 K-kove 2,343 pistols/revolvers, 50 rifles, 83 shotguns/repeaters, 132 hand grenades, 222 explosive materials and two suicide jackets had also been recovered from the criminals.