Pakistan to crack down on violence in Karachi

Pakistan to crack down on violence in Karachi
# 05 September 2013 00:13 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Pakistan said Wednesday it would launch targeted action in the violence-hit southern port city of Karachi against terrorists, target killers, kidnappers and extortionists.

Rights groups say that nearly 1,800 people were killed in attacks in the first six months of this year.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said hundreds of criminals have been identified in the reports prepared by federal and provincial intelligence agencies and action would be taken against them.

The decision was taken in the special cabinet meeting convened in Karachi on Wednesday and after consultations by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with political parties, intelligence officials and business leaders.

A special committee comprising senior security officials and intelligence agencies would oversee, manage, administer and control the action. The committee will meet at least once a week to review the situation and take necessary decisions.

The Interior Minister said paramilitary force "Rangers" would lead the action and the police will have supporting role. He said federal and provincial governments have issued necessary guidelines to empower Rangers and remove its concerns.

Talking about the crimes due to unregistered mobile phone SIMs, the minister said that an operation was launched against the unregistered SIMs by the previous governments in 2008 but four million unregistered SIMs still exist. He said that the cellular companies have been directed to follow the standard guidelines.

The action was taken in view of the daily incidents of target killings, kidnapping for ransom and extortion that has badly affected business activities in Karachi, the country's largest commercial center.

Officials say that dozens of leading businessmen have shifted their business to other countries due to insecurity in the city.

Traders have also demanded military operation in Karachi, however, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ruled out calling out the army and said the paramilitary troops would lead the campaign with the help of the police.

The government has decided to give more power to the paramilitary force to make the campaign successful as the Karachi violence was one of the major challenges for the government.

The incidents of violence forced the Prime Minister to pay a two-day visit to Karachi on Tuesday and Wednesday aimed to restore peace in the city.

The Prime Minister has won support from the major political parties for the targeted operation to eliminate miscreants from the city.