Karachi - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the success of Apex Committee in restoring peace in the city is the result of strategic partnership between Pakistan Army, Rangers and police and above all the will of his government.

“This strategic partnership worked well, because all these organs are on the same page when it comes to implementing the National Action Plan, and this operation will continue till the last terrorist exists,” he added.

He was presiding over a special Apex Committee meeting held here on Tuesday to discuss the usefulness of the operation in view of the fact that two senior officials, Corps Commander Karachi Lt General Naveed Mukhtar, who has been posted as ISI DG, and Rangers DG Major General Bilal Akbar, who has been promoted as Lt General, would relinquish their present posts to join their new assignments.

Others, who were present on the occasion, were Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro, Advisers to Chief Minister Maula Bux Chandio, Murtaza Wahab, Sindh Police IG AD Khawaja, CTD Additional IG Sanaullah Abbasi, Karachi Commissioner Aijaz Ali Khan, provincial heads of intelligence agencies and other concerned officers.

The chief minister said that ever since the Apex Committee had been constituted, two important members, the Corps Commander Karachi and the Rangers DG played an important role in promoting collaboration with the civil government and defined civil military working relationship in a new way. “This relationship brought about peace in the city,” he said.

 “When we had started this journey (the Apex Committee was formed), the law & order situation was very bad; there was unrest among people of this city and terrorists, mafias and other criminals held sway in different areas.” he said and added “Now things have improved considerably; the government has won the public confidence, business activities have started flourishing and most importantly events/days like Moharram, Chehlum, Chup Tazia, Ideas 2016, CPEC Trade Convoy, Rabiul Awwal now pass off peacefully.” “The credit for this change goes to our political leadership; to this forum at which collective decisions were taken and are being taken, and are now being implemented in true letter and spirit,” he observed.

The chief minister assured the Corps Commander Karachi and Rangers DG that the work they had left incomplete would be completed through this forum in which their successors would be with him. “But I would need your support from the positions where you have been posted,” he said. Briefing the meeting, the CTD Additional IG Sanaullah Abbasi quoted CRSS quarterly security report, and said that the crime rate had dropped in Sindh considerably.

He added that Pakistan had experienced a 19.4 percent rise in the number of fatalities from violence. “Fata observed a 90.5 rise, Punjab 52 percent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa plus 19.9 percent, Balochistan plus 18 percent and Sindh minus 19.5 percent,” he added.

Home Secretary Shakil Mangnijo, while giving a presentation on the implementation status of 17th Apex Committee meeting, said that names of fourth schedulers were being posted on Home department’s website and shared with the CM Secretariat.

“The IG would send his recommendations to the Ministry of Interior and national security agencies,” he said, and added, “The promulgation of Sindh Deeni Madaris Bill has been presented before the cabinet, and it has referred it to the sub committee.”

He added that the Sindh government had requested the federal government to delegate the powers under the Foreigners Ordinance 1951 to Sindh Police.

“The Disaster Management Authority is being strengthened,” he said, and added, “The exercise to manage disasters has been completed.”

He further said that the government had taken strict and focused measures to. choke financing of terrorist activities as well as flow of funds through Hundi and Hawala for which FIA was playing an important role. He told the meeting that the Corps Commander Karachi had been assisting Sindh Police in establishing Forensic Explosive Lab, and that an expert from Pakistan Army was being hired for the purpose.

“Pakistan Rangers has carried out a combing operation against some networks, recruiting people for war in Syria and Iraq,” he said, and added, “The Sindh government is working to amend the criminal law for the admissibility of modern technology tools in recording of evidences. Draft amendments have been sent to the cabinet for consideration.”

The home secretary further said that six ATC courts functioning in Clifton would be shifted to newly constructed buildings for which the Sindh government would issue a notification.

Talking about Karachi operation, he said that since last Apex Committee meeting, (during last five week) no terrorism incident had taken place; no kidnapping case had been reported.

The home secretary added that 26 extortion cases had been reported during the period under review, while during corresponding period of the last year, 35 cases had been reported.

“Around 18 incidents of target killings have been reported during the period while there were 15 such cases last year,” he said. To this, the chief minister directed the police IG to increase patrolling and also intelligence.

The intelligence agencies heads said that fire incidents, including in a hotel recently, were on the rise, and expressed the fear that there might be some kind of a mischief, which they were trying to detect. The CM directed the IG to investigate into these incidents from other angles too. “I am also doubtful that day in and day out fire breaks out in factories- what is this,” he questioned and directed him to investigate.

The chief minister, on the recommendation of the intelligence agencies, directed the IG to start operation against dacoits in katcha areas of Ghotki and adjoining districts. Rangers DG Major General Bilal Akbar, while giving performance report of his organisation, said that Rangers had arrested some high-profile Al-Qaeda, TTP and other proscribed outfits leaders.

He said 1474 terrorists had been arrested, while out of 9053 target killers arrested, some had confessed to have killed two to three persons.

He added that Rangers had arrested 438 extortionists and 115 kidnappers.

“On my recommendation, the chief minister had decided to launch an operation against drug mafia and those who are involved in sectarian killings in the garb of religion,” he added.

The Rangers DG further said that some people had made the communities hostage by installing barriers. The Rangers sorted the out.

He added, “If we go back to November 2012, there were 75 target killings in a month. When the operation started in Sept 2013, there were 29 target killings in Nov 2013; 12 in Nov 2015, and only nine this November,” he said and added, “Karachi can be made more secure if proper capacity building of police is done.”

Adviser to the CM Maula Bux Chandio recalled that the operation had started in very difficult times, and there were lots of anticipations and conspiracies {of imposing governor’s rule}, but all of these conspiracies died down because “We all were on the same page.” Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro said that Karachi was being focused and termed as a dangerous city in the world and with the grace of Allah (The Almighty) and collective work of civil and military leadership now this city had become a peaceful one.

Corps Commander Karachi Lt General Naveed Mukhtar, while appreciating efforts of the government, said that the best achievement of the Karachi operation was change in the life of a common man. “The results of operation are very much clear on the ground for which the Apex Committee deserves lots of appreciation.” The corps commander made it clear that it was very much in the mind that the operation remained bloodless. “Alhamdullilah, no blood of common man has spilled anywhere in the city,” he said, and added, “We succeeded in eliminating the fear of mafias from the hearts and minds of people.”

Later, the chief minister presented Sindhi Topi, Ajrak and other gifts to the out-going corps commander and Rangers DG. This was the last meeting they attended.