KARACHI - The Supreme Court Thursday directed Karachi law enforcers to recover illegal arms even at the cost of imposing a curfew in the city, observing that only cosmetic measures have been taken there so far.

A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry resumed hearing of the implementation suo moto on Karachi unrest verdict at Karachi Registry where government officials submitted reports pertaining to progress on various cases.

Sindh Chief Secretary submitted a report before the bench regarding ongoing action against the criminals. The report said that 1,357 accused for crimes such as extortion and target killing. These people have been arrested over a span of 11 days. It also stated that the lack of coordination between the Customs and law enforcement agencies was the reason of weapons smuggling and this is why the situation in the city has turned uncontrollable.

The CJP said that police officers, who took part in Karachi operations of 1992 and 1996, were killed one by one. “The IG police should tell the court where their killers are? In this situation, no one comes forward to be a witness. The murder of witnesses is not possible without the nexus of police and influential people.” He said that despite clear court orders, Sindh government could not arrest the killers of journalist Wali Khan Babar. Instead, the witnesses of his murder were killed one by one, he added.

The chief justice scolded the IG Sindh and said “for God’s sake! Do something to save the country. Only the cosmetic measures are taken so far.” The CJP said that arms are pouring into Karachi from India, Israel and Russia, besides the Nato and US arms coming into the city. He said that the law enforcers should recover the illegal arms at all cost, even if they will have to impose curfew in the city. He hailed Sindh Assembly’s legislation of the protection of witnesses.

Sindh Advocate General Shahadat Awan told the court that law and order situation in the city has improved after the targeted action against criminals and mobile phone companies have been directed to block unregistered SIMs and the process of blocking the SIMs was already underway since last night. In his remarks over the AG’s statement, Justice Jawad S Khwaja asked, “How is this possible for a person to posses 50 SIMs at a time? Does any law prevent it?”

Meanwhile, the SC ordered to make public a report prepared by a senior customs official Ramzan Bhatti regarding smuggling of arms and ammunition as well as evasion of duty on different items at Karachi port. The report said that there are 39 possible sea routes through which a launch or boat can be used for smuggling while seven of these routes are totally unguarded. It said that intelligence officials have denied smuggling through sea routes.

On August 30,  Sindh Rangers DG had told the court that the issue of missing 19,000 arms containers came to limelight many years ago. He said the missing containers were opened during the tenure of the former minister for ports and shipping.

MQM’s Babar Ghouri had requested the court that he be allowed to become party in the case after the report accused him of connivance in the alleged arms smuggling issue. The hearing was later adjourned until tomorrow (Friday). This hearing is first since early September visit of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Karachi when the Federal Cabinet decided to launch a targeted operation in the metropolis spearheaded by the Rangers.