KARACHI - Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah claimed on Saturday that positive result of ongoing targeted action is significantly visible, as severe crimes of kidnapping for ransom and extortion have dropped by 20 to 25 per cent in Karachi.

Addressing a press conference after chairing a meeting on law and order at his secretariat, the chief minister refuted the allegations of political victimisation leveled by MQM following the implication of MNA Nabeel Gabol in the murder case of former PPP leader Zafar Baloch.

He said police had lodged an FIR against Gabol on the complaint of the heirs of late Baloch, who was killed in Lyari, adding that police had been given a freehand to maintain law and order.

 “We can’t interfere in these affairs.” He added the name of Gabol could only be mentioned in the challan in the court after investigations.

Flanked by Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, the chief minister said the ongoing operation was neutral and across-the-board. He added that a total of 2,059 criminals had been arrested by Rangers and police in 1,619 raids till Saturday.

A total of 18 criminals have been killed in 18 shootouts in the city. Besides, huge caches of weapons were recovered in the raids.

Qaim said that people were satisfied with the outcome of the targeted operation that dropped crimes like extortion and kidnapping for ransom up to 25pc. He said at least 142 policemen including officers had been martyred in a year in the city.

The chief minister said his government was striving to maintain law and order.

He also said the number of anti-terrorism courts had been enhanced to 20 from 14 in the province for speedy trial of the accused of heinous crimes. He underlined the need for completing the trial of criminals within a week, saying any trial lingering on would prove to be a waste of evidences.

Qaim further said law was required to regulate SIMs of cellular phones as unregistered SIMs were being used as a major tool to execute criminal activities.

He added the Sindh government had passed a law to provide protection to any witnesses unveiling that last witness in journalist Wali Babar murder case had been kept under protection as many witnesses in this case had been killed.

Reserving Sindh government’s opinion on the federal cabinet’s decision to give powers to shoot the culprits, Qaim said he was awaiting the proposal of the federal government.

“We want to revisit the law, which should be deterrence to discourage the crimes,” he stated, and declared that basic human rights enshrined in the constitution must not affect the proposal of giving powers to LEAs to shoot criminals.

He said murder cases of police officers and cops killed one by one from 2002 to 2007 had been reopened on the order of the Supreme Court.

To a question about Supreme Court’s ruling about imposing a curfew to recover illegal weapons, the chief minister said there was no need to impose a curfew.

He the campaign to recover illegal weapons was part of the ongoing targeted operation.

He sought support from all political forces to cleanse Karachi from criminals. Criminals having affiliation with political parties were also arrested in ongoing targeted operation, he added.

Qaim made it clear that party affiliation of any criminal would not be mentioned in the challan to be submitted in the courts.

 He clarified that if arrested people disclosed their political affiliation in their defence, then it could be disclosed.