Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Home Minister gets stricter; carrying arms banned

Taking a serious notice of the incidents of ethnic violence in various parts of the city, the Sindh government banned people from carrying arms. Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza announced on Monday that any person seen with weapons will be shot at sight. “The Sindh home department was directed to issue written orders to the police and other law enforcement agencies to shoot any person who was carrying weapons and arms on the streets,” he said while giving an official statement on the Sindh Assembly floor.

The ruling MQM legislators raised the issue while talking on point of orders. It was the first, and obviously the last, sitting of the current provincial legislative house session after the bloody incidents of the violence. The home minister termed the violent incidents a planned attempt to destabilize the system and linked them to an international scenario. He appealed to all political parties to play an active role in normalizing the situation. “The whole county will burn if Karachi burns,” he exclaimed. Mirza revealed that he has restrained PPP men from taking armed guards with them.

The police and law enforcement agencies will take action against miscreants, irrespective of their political affiliations, he said. Saying that the government knows how to deal with them and the situation, he warned miscreants not to ignore the government’s advice or orders. The home minister also admitted to the fact that problems and difficulties were being faced while implementing official orders. He said that around 80 percent of appointments and postings in the police have been made on a political basis and that it will take time to get them into order. Stating that the media is exaggerating the incidents of violence, he appealed to the media, especially electronic media, to act responsibly while reporting sensitive cases. “The media is making it seem like there is not government in Karachi or Sindh,” he remarked Referring to the violent incidents that occurred in the city in the last two days, he said that a total of 20 people were reported to have died while only 90 were reported to be injured. Out of those who died, 14 were Pakhtoons and six belonged to the Urdu speaking community. According to Mirza, around 10 police stations in the city out of a total of 30 were disturbed during the violence. Out of the 10 police stations, he stated that only six are reportedly in the grip of violence and the remaining four are in a sensitive situation.

The six affected police stations are in Orangi town, Pakistan Bazaar, Pirabad, North Nazimabad, Korangi and Zaman town. Mirza stated that the sensitive police stations are in Baldia, Landhi, Sachal and Sohrab Goth. Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Assembly MQM parliamentary Leader Sardar Ahmed, said it is our government and we have full confidence in the chief minister and home minister. He said that the government is making all possible efforts to eliminate the disruptive elements, stating that playing the blame game will only prove harmful for the nation.MQM MPA Faisal Sabzwari recalled that just a few days ago the sensitivity of the situation was the topic under discussion on the same floor in the same house and if anyone is out to harm the country it is our responsibility to catch the culprits. Sabzwari said that if we do not work together and act as one, it will only serve as encouragement to negative elements. He said that everyone appreciated the home minister’s shoot-at-sight orders, as the city has to be protected at all costs.

He assured that the government has their support and referred to the joint statement that the MQM issued with the ANP on Sunday. He also mentioned the talks held by the interior advisor with MQM Chief Altaf Hussain. Opposition Leader Jam Madad Ali also expressed similar views, stating that the people of Karachi are in a state of shock and that the opposition will fully cooperate with the chief minister and home minister in the government’s efforts to control the situation.

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