Showing posts with label News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News. Show all posts

Friday, May 15, 2009

Federal Government orders crackdown against land mafia in Karachi

ISLAMABAD: Federal Government has constituted a high level committee to launch crackdown against land mafia in Karachi.

Federal Interior Minister Abdul Rehman Malik informed Private TV Channel the committee has been constituted after consultation with Governor Sindh Ishrat-ul-Ibad and Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah.

The committee would be headed by interior secretary Syed Kamal Shah and DG Ranger Sindh, IG Sindh, DCO, Secretary Local Government and Member Revenue Board are included in it.

The committee would submit its report within 7 days before the Government and in the light of committee report action would be taken against the responsible.

The committee has been asked to determine those officials of Revenue department and Police officials who are assisting land mafia.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 12 passes peacefully: Karachiites relieved!

KARACHI: The residents of Karachi heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday as the feared outbreak of violence did not materialise and no untoward incident was reported in any part of the city.

However, routine life remained suspended as shops and markets throughout the city remained closed and traffic remained thin, with public transport largely absent.

Although, mass bloodshed, ethnic clashes and rioting were expected, the day passed peacefully and earned the unique recognition as only the second day after the day of the February 2008 elections when not a single case of street crime was reported.

On Tuesday, roads remained deserted and contingents of Rangers and police staged flag marches. Even the traffic police had been armed and 5,000 additional police personnel were deployed in the city. Petrol pumps remained closed and a strike-like situation was witnessed. Attendance in offices and factories also remained low, as workers could not reach their destinations due to non-availability of public transport. While most industrial concerns too had allowed workers to stay at home, patients at various hospitals faced problems due to the absence of paramedical staff. Many areas faced an acute water shortage, as tanker services remained partially suspended.

It may be recalled that since 2008, several major violent incidents have taken place in the city, claiming hundreds of lives, as law enforcement agencies remained unable to deal with miscreants. However, for the second time since 2008, law enforcers were able to come up with a strategy to combat threats of violence.

On the other hand, Quran Khwanis were separately arranged by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Awami National Party, while the Jamaat-e-Islami observed a black day in memory of the martyrs of May 12, 2007. On the directives of their respective party leaders, MQM workers hoisted national flags, while ANP workers hoisted black flags.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Zardari, Altaf on the same page against militancy

President Asif Ali Zardari and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain held an important meeting at Churchill Hotel in London on Sunday.
During the meeting, both the leaders discussed country’s security situation in general and of Karachi in particular. On the occasion, Altaf Hussain expressed his party’s reservations regarding some police officers of Sindh following violence in Karachi, a private TV channel, quoting sources close to the meeting, said.
Talking to newsmen after the meeting, Altaf Hussain said Talibanisation is a threat to Pakistan and it’s a conspiracy to break up the country. “We have to rise above party politics and join hands to meet this challenge,” he added.
He said there was a consensus in the meeting that militancy will be elimiated at every cost. He said law-enforcement agencies are working to crush Talibanisation. He regretted that Taliban had not surrendered their arms after the implementation of Nizam-e-Adl in Swat Valley.
He said situation in Balochistan is very critical. “We have to demonstrate unity to help our Balochi brethren.”
Responding to a question, Altaf said, “Nawaz Sharif should also be taken on board. I respect Nawaz Sharif’s reservations but the country at the moment needs unity and the PML-N Chief should support the government."
According to sources, CCPO Karachi Waseem Ahmed has also arrived in London.
Sensing the gravity of the challenges the country is currently confronted with, President Zardari and Altaf Hussain renewed their commitment to jointly take the country out of the crisis.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Transporters to observe wheel jam strike on 12th

National Transport Ittehad Karachi Chairman Salim Khan Bangash announced on Friday that transporters will observe a wheel jam strike in the city on May 12 against the killing of four transporters and the torching of public transport vehicles in the recent violence in the city.

Bangash said that during the recent mayhem, rioters gunned down two drivers and two conductors and also set ablaze nine buses, 24 minibuses and six dumpers, which caused a loss of about Rs 20 million to the transporters. “As many as 25,000 minibuses, 10,000 coaches, 5,000 local buses, 60,000 motor rickshaws and 25,000 cabs ply on different roads of Karachi on a daily basis. Around 95 percent of the private transport in

Karachi is owned by the Pakhtoons and their future after the recent riots, has been put at stake,” he said. He blamed that men of a particular ethnic group were involved in this crime however, the Karachi police has registered cases against unknown attackers despite our indication of the responsible elements.

“Taliban are not present in Karachi and only an ethnic group is propagating it in order to damage the interest of Pakhtoons. “Over 0.7million people of Swat and FATA have been internally displaced due to the fight between security forces and militants there. A large number of these displaced people are heading towards Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi to take refuge at the houses of their relatives who are already settled in these cities,” he said.

Pakthoons in Karachi are striving to earn their livelihoods and none of them are involved in terrorism. “Why are the transporters in Karachi being continuously harassed in the name of Talibanisation while they are plying their vehicles on the roads of Karachi to earn a livelihood for several decades?” he questioned. He said that not only were the vehicles torched, but also the shops and houses owned by the Pakhtoons torched during the recent violence.

Monday, April 27, 2009

NATO ships exercises with Pak Navy today

KARACHI: The ships of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 will undertake two-day exercise with Pakistan Navy vessels in the open sea from today.
This was announced by the Commander of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, Rear Admiral Pereira Da Cunha.
He was talking to newsmen onboard Portuguese ship Corte Real at Karachi Port on Sunday. Commodore Jamil Akhtar, Chief Staff Officer to the Commander Pakistan Fleet, was also present on the occasion. Admiral Pereira said that the exercise would help foster cooperation.
Five ships consisting of Portuguese, Canadian, Spanish, Dutch frigates and a German tanker will participate in the exercise. Four Pakistan Navy ships as well as its air units will also take part in the exercise. Commodore Jamil Akhtar spoke of Pakistan Navy’s longstanding ties with NATO and said that this visit of its ships is also a manifestation of good bilateral relation of our navies and is mutually beneficial.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Land mafia?: Rs 150m plot ‘saved’ from encroachment

By Irfan Aligi

KARACHI: The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) nearly lost a high-valued plot of land located in Karachi Administrative Cooperative Housing Society (KACHS). The plot had been partly encroached upon and is CDGK’s property through defunct KMC. The plot measures 1,500 square yards and it has an auction value of Rs 150 million.

Talking to Daily Times, District Officer (DO) Land Enforcement Abdul Malik said that he had sent Deputy DO Shakir Zaki to the plot to stop the ongoing construction.

When this reporter contacted Zaki, he told Daily Times that Baloch Colony police station had started construction of a police post on the plot, which was stopped on Thursday.

Zaki further said that the plot was handed over to CDGK’s Engineering Department in 1992 and originally was the property of the defunct KMC, which is now a part of CDGK after the devolution of powers.

Replying to a question, Zaki said that the area police had started construction of a police post on CDGK’s plot, citing the reason to be the escalating criminal activities in the park opposite CDGK’s plot.

According to Zaki, the police have assured him that they would submit an undertaking to the CDGK, stating that the police post would be removed and the possession of the plot would be handed over to the CDGK without delay whenever the CDGK would demand the plot back.

Zaki said that the construction of the police post has been stopped while he has asked the police to contact the Karachi DCO for permission to use the plot.

On a question, Zaki alleged that the KACHS administration has falsely claimed ownership of the plot and has allowed the police to take possession of the plot and proceed to construct a police post but now the police have been told that the plot is CDGK’s property.

Sources in CDGK told Daily Times that officers concerned from defunct KMC in collaboration with the area police were involved in the encroachment plan of the plot.

When this reporter contacted defunct KMC Land Director Tariq Naseer for his comments, he expressed his ignorance over the issue. He also said that the plot was not listed within the limits of his legal jurisdiction.

Replying to a question, Naseer refuted his involvement in any encroachment scam and further said that is this scribe has an authentic report then it should be published at all costs.

Talking to Daily Times, Baloch Colony police station SHO Hyder Ali Zaidi said that it was the KACHS administration’s decision to construct a room for the police check post, not on the plot but at the rear bank of the sewerage line.

The purpose to establish the police check post was to curb the street crimes in the area, he said while adding that the plot was not encroached upon.

The establishment of the check post by the residents of the area was a manifest of their trust on the police and they have further assured their cooperation to assist the area police for better services, he said. (DT Report)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nasreen Jalil for registration of all those entering into Karachi

Karachi: Naib City Nazim Ms. Nasreen Jalil has underlined the need of registration of people and administering them vaccine at the entry points of Karachi so that correct data of the people entering into city could be collected besides controlling the infectious diseases.
The registration system should also be introduced in other cities of Pakistan, she suggested adding that no development could be beneficial without proper statistics and planning. Talking to an 11-member delegation of officials undergoing 66th pre-service training course at provincial services academy, Peshawar, at her office on Friday, Ms. Jalil said owing to growing population of Karachi, it was imperative for the federal government to focus on the issues of this city. The delegation led by Sardar Muhammad Nawaz Khan, Consultant Instructor of the academy, and currently on a weeklong visit of Karachi, agreed to the contention of Naib City Nazim and stated that registration of citizens would greatly help resolving various problems.

Ms. Jalil highlighted the role of Pakhtoon community in the development of Karachi and said the city government was endeavoring to provide them with all the basic facilities. She said all those living in Karachi should own it and indulge themselves in the development of this city. Nasreen Jalil said all the elected representatives of Karachi were from the masses while those ruling the other cities of country belonged to certain dynasties and had always enjoyed power. Pleading that the police in Karachi should be under the control of city government, she said such a system works all around the world. She also talked of granting provincial autonomy to strengthen the system.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Darakshan police station gets ‘adopted’

By Faraz Khan

KARACHI: The Zindagi Trust has ‘adopted’ the Darakshan police station located in Clifton Town.

Now the trust, in collaboration with some schools that are located near the police station, is responsible for running the police station and also for catering to the problems faced by the police personnel. There are 125 police personnel deputed at the station, out of which, 110 belong to the operational division, while the remaining are a part of the investigation division. The operational division has 55 Police Constables (PC), 13 Head Constables (HC), six Sub Inspectors (SI) and 18 Assistant Sub Inspectors who are working under the supervision of Station Head Officer (SHO) Raja Tariq.

The police station is located in a posh area of the city and has many important places within its jurisdiction including the Seaview area, Country Club, the Florida Homes apartment complex, 30 banks, various commercial areas including Badar Commercial, Saba Commercial, Bukhari Commercial and Shahbaz Commercial. There are various projects under construction within its jurisdiction, including a power plant and a water filtering plant.

It is pertinent to mention here that seven policemen of the Darakshan police station have lost their lives while performing their duties. However, the fact that the trust has adopted the police station has increased the responsibilities of the police personnel. Sindh Inspector General of Police Salahuddin Babar Khattak and Karachi Police chief Wasim Ahmed said that the station was adopted two weeks ago and its renovation is almost complete. It would be inaugurated by South Zone DIG A D Khawaja on Saturday, April 11.

“Such measures will boost the confidence of the police and, therefore, help in tackling crime more efficiently,” SHO Raja Tariq told Daily Times, adding that separate budgets have been allocated for everything by the Zindagi Trust. The Darakshan police station has also been provided with two generators. A canteen is also being set up within the premises of the police station, which will provide food of the highest quality, while the detainees in the police lockups will be provided food free of cost.

“Now we can get good quality food and a bottle of water for just Rs 15,” said the officer, adding that a 24-hour clinic is also being set up there.

Specialists for diseases such as cancer, hepatitis, eye and skin infections will be available in the clinic. Police uniforms will also be provided to them and a laundry is also being established there, which will wash uniforms free of cost.

For now, three police mobile units have also been deployed at the station with the promise of more to come. In exchange, the trust has requested the police high-ups to beef up police patrol in the area.

A programme offering loans for police personnel may also be introduced, while efforts are being made to provide free of cost education to the children of police personnel, along with a health policy. (DT Report)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

KUJ protest demo in favour of sacked journalists

KARACHI: Karachi Union of Journalists, KUJ yesterday held a protest demonstration against the downsizing and sacking of journalists from some electronic channels and news papers in front of KPC. Protestors were chanting slogans and raised ply cards against the administration of some prestigious news papers and TV channels while they demanded the administration of those said news papers and TV channels to restore these sacked journalists on their positions.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Senior Journalist Sabihuddin Ghausi Passes Away

KARACHI: Senior journalist and former President Karachi Press Club Muhammad Sabihuddin Ghausi passed away here on Thursday morning after short illness.

The deceased was born on December 8, 1943 and left behind a widow among others to mourn his death.

Late Ghausi had served various newspaper organizations including the Pakistan Press International (PPI), Morning News, The Sun and Business Recorder. He remained associated with the Daily Dawn for almost past two decades.

He was considered as one of the finest commerce reporters in the country.

Late Ghausi had served as the president of the KPC four times and had once remained its secretary besides holding other posts.

He was also elected as the president and general secretary of the Karachi Union of Journalists (Barna group).

Late Ghausi always remained in the forefront for the struggle for the freedom of the press.

His `Namaz-i-Janaza’ was offered at Masjid-i-Ghafooria in Garden East here after the `Zuhr’ prayers.

The president and secretary of the KPC, Imtiaz Ahmed Khan Faran and A.H. Khanzada have expressed deep sorrow and grief at his death.

They recalled the deceased’s immense services for the cause of journalism in the country as well as the journalist community and that these would be long remembered.

They also prayed Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage and fortitude to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss.

Chancellor Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, Z.A. Nizami has expressed his profound grief over the sad demise of Sabihuddin Ghausi.

Chairman Korangi Association of Trade and Industries (KATI) Mian Zahid Hussain and S M Munir have also condoled the sad demise of Ghausi.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has expressed deep sense of grief over the sad demise of senior journalist of daily DAWN and former President of Karachi Union of Journalist and Karachi Press Club Sabiuddin Ghausi.

PFUJ in a statement said Ghausi was not only an outstanding journalist but a committed trade unionist who dedicated his life for journalism and for the welfare of his community. Ghausi went to prison during the journalist movement against General Zia ul Haq in 1978.
“With his death PFUJ lost one of the committed trade union leader and thorough professional,” it said.

PFUJ expressed its profound grief with the family and friends of Sabiuddin Ghausi.

Former Federal Information Minister Ms Sherry Rehman, Sindh Information Minister Shazia Mari, Central Information Secretary of PPP Fauzia Wahab have also sent their condolence messages to PFUJ on the death of Mr Ghausi.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Court orders shifting of Kalia, Khanani to hospital

The Additional District and Session Judge, South, issued orders to immediately shift Javed Khanani and Munaf Kalia to a hospital for a medical check-up and submit a report to the court for the compliance of the orders on February 24.

The Jail Superintendent (JS) appeared in the court on Monday and said that Javed Khanani, one of the directors of Khanani and Kalia group, had been provided medical treatment inside the court. The court expressed annoyance at the JS asked him to shift the directors to a hospital.

The Defence counsel earlier filed an application in the court that his client was a heart patient and needed complete treatment. The court subsequently ordered a medical check-up in the hospital, but the superintendent of the Central Prison Karachi failed to comply with these orders.

Police restrained from arresting couple: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has restrained the police from arresting a couple till further orders.

Seema submitted that she married Abdul Ghafoor on September 6, 2008, but her family members did not accept their marriage and registered a false kidnapping case against her husband at the Sachal police station in January this year. Seema sought protection for her husband and requested the court to quash the FIR against her husband and her in-laws.

The SHC’s division bench comprising Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Arshad Noor Khan, after preliminary hearing of the petition, issued a notice to the Advocate-General for February 16 and in the meantime restrained the police from arresting the couple.

The same bench also disposed of a petition of a couple with directions that the petitioner may not be harassed by the police. Abdul Ghafoor submitted that he married Shahnaz on December 13 last year but his in-laws registered a kidnapping case against him at a police station in Khairpur. Shahnaz’s brother refused the claim of the petitioner and submitted that Abdul Ghafoor kidnapped his sister who was already married to a man named Murad Ali. He requested the court to send the girl to Darul Aman and said that Abdul Ghafoor should be handed over to the police for further investigation.

The court, after hearing the case, directed the Additional Advocate-General to record the statement of the petitioners with the direction that they would not be harassed while the police may complete the investigation.

Detention case: The SHC adjourned the hearing of a missing person’s case at the request of petitioner’s counsel who said he would file an affidavit regarding the arrest of detainee.

Petitioner Mohammad Abrar Khan submitted that his son, Sarfaraz Khan, was picked up by law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) near Dhabeji on October 17 last year when he and his friend Arif Khan were on their way to the Makli police station to identify culprits who attacked him. The petitioner said that LEAs released Arif but shifted Sarfaraz to an undisclosed location. The petitioner expressed fear about his son’s life. The court was informed that the police had shown the arrest of the detainee in Rawalpindi. The petitioner’s counsel sought time to file an affidavit in this regard.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Three men linked to Ajmal Kasab held in Karachi?

KARACHI: Intelligence agencies have detained three men in Karachi over their alleged involvement with Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. A source privy to the matter disclosed that intelligence agencies had taken the men into custody from different areas of Karachi in connection with their alleged affiliation with Kasab.

They were reportedly taken to Islamabad and an investigation was in progress. The relevant officials refused to comment when contacted. The source claimed the arrests were made by the Federal Investigation Agency in collaboration with other intelligence agencies. (Daily Times)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sweet mart chain drops `Karachi' from name

MUMBAI: Fearing an attack from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists, the management of the Punjabi Chandu Halwai Karachiwala chain of sweet
shops has dropped `Karachiwala' from its signboards. The chain has 21 branches across the city.

"We don't want to take chances,'' one of the managers said. "After we learnt about the Mulund incident, where the owner of Karachi Sweet Mart was threatened by MNS activists, we decided to take precautions,'' he added.

"Who wants to invite trouble? If there is stone pelting on any of our outlets, it will affect our business,'' said a senior official from a Chandu sweetmeats shop. "We are a known brand. It is a temporary measure. If the issue dies down in the coming weeks, we may bring back Karachiwala on our signboards.''

MNS activist Shishir Shinde said he was not against any sweetmeat shop or its owners. "We don't want to bully or harass any shopkeeper. We are only opposed to the use of names of Pakistani cities in Mumbai,'' said Shinde. He added that the MNS would request other establishments such as cable companies, jewellery designers, restaurants, marriage halls, general stores and export houses to avoid using names like Lahore, Karachi, Multan and Peshawar.

"Pakistan has been responsible for several bomb blasts and more recently, the terror attack on Mumbai. The key accused, Ajmal Kasab is from Pakistan,'' he said. "Those who migrated to India after the partition, are now Indian citizens and should cut off all links with Pakistan,'' he added.

However, a Congress corporator said, "The names of the shops or establishments which are being targeted have become brands over the past few decades. It makes no sense forcing the owners to drop words like Karachi or Lahore. The MNS should catch those who are involved in anti-national activities and spare the innocents.''

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cantt Station on candid camera

By Asadullah

The Pakistan Railways has introduced a much-needed security feature to the Karachi Cantonment Railway Station, and the close circuit television (CCTV) network has been made functional with the proper installation of 26 cameras.

The Karachi Cantonment Railway Station, which also enjoys heritage status, has been equipped with a CCTV network after having a control room established within the police help centre at the station. The Railway Police have been tasked with monitoring the eight platforms of the station, hosting arrival and departure of 48 trains every 24 hours.

“The CCTV franchise operation has been under way since January 17 under railway police supervision,” a senior railway police officer told The News. “We are now monitoring the station with 26 cameras, including a high-speed dome camera installed in the parking lot of the station.”

Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Railway Minister, had told the media that CCTV cameras would be installed at the Karachi, Rohri and Lahore railway stations in the first phase.

Pakistan Railway authorities, however, took time to come up with an authentic answer to the CCTV project when they finalised the bids for installing cameras. They managed to fit cameras at different points, but these remained idle due to the paucity of trained hands in the control room.

Sources said that twelve police constables and six female constables have undergone a six-month training period to work in the CCTV control room in eight-hour shifts round the clock. “We have enough memory for 25 days of video footage,” explained a police officer. “The 26th day will automatically erase the first day’s memory and record over it.”

Sources said that the installation of CCTV cameras in Karachi, Lahore and Rohri at an accumulative cost of Rs10.5 million is part of a greater security and surveillance project, which will also cover railway workshops, to have a check on theft and employees’ presence. Walk-through security gates have already been installed at the Karachi Cantonment Railway Station.

Sources informed The News that the Pakistan Railway headquarters in Lahore have finalised the CCTV Network at three railway stations, including Karachi Cantonment, in the first phase of the security measures to be taken at railway stations and trains across the country. Lahore-based Champions Traders has installed the cameras at Karachi, too.

“The high-speed dome camera installed at the parking lot of Karachi Cantonment Railway Station is unique amongst the cameras installed to cover eight platforms,” observed a police officer. “This particular camera can be rotated as per your requirement, enabling you to keep a watchful eye on the huge open space around the parking area.”

According to Baqar Gilani, the Station House Officer of the Karachi Cantonment Railway Police Station, the establishment of CCTV control room under the railway police’s supervision is indeed a right step toward improved policing at the century-old railway station where 90 percent of the up-country railroading originates.

Within the Cantonment Railway Police Station’s limits, the theft of railway material and property tops the incidents of crime, followed by pick pocketing and luggage-lifting.

“Another most serious crime that we deal with is poisoning of people in a bid to rob them,” said Gilani.

No official, including Muzzafar Ali Sheikh, Railway Police SP, could confirm the cost of the cameras and other necessary arrangements that have been made to finalise the CCTV network. Mir Mohammed Khaskheli, Divisional Superintendent Railway Karachi, appeared ignorant as far as the actual cost of the CCTV Network at Karachi alone was concerned.

A.Q.Khan a free man following IHC acquittal

Disgraced Pakistan scientist Dr.Abdul Qadeer Khan has been aquitted of all charges of nuclear proliferation, and has been set free after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered to lift his house arrest on Friday.

IHC chief justice Sardar Muhammad Aslam adjudged that the charges filed in the petition against Khan charging him of giving nuclear know-how to other countries (North Korea, Libya, and Iran) illegally, had not been ’substantiated’.

The Court also declared Khan as a free citizen and said that he is free to move across the country, The News reports.

However, the order said that Khan will have to inform the government about his movements in advance, and asked the authorities to provide a VVIP security cover to him.

Khan came under scrutiny following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S. and the subsequent US invasion of Afghanistan to oust the fundamentalist Taliban regime in Afghanistan. It emerged that al-Qaeda had made repeated efforts to obtain nuclear weapons materials to build either a radiological bomb or a crude nuclear bomb. In late October 2001, the Pakistani government arrested three Pakistani nuclear scientists, all with close ties to Khan, for their suspected connections with the Taliban.

The Bush administration continued to investigate Pakistani nuclear weapons proliferation, ratcheting up the pressure on the Pakistani government in 2001 and 2002 and focusing on Khan’s personal role. He had been under house arrest since February 2004.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

City Police vehicles continue to bear irregular number plates

The News Report

Most police cars in the city sport illegal or irregular number plates, and even the top brass of the police is guilty of violating their own laws in this regard, investigations by The News have revealed.

The traffic police on their part are adamant that the problem is not as bad as it was some months ago, as action is now being taken against errant police vehicles. “Illegal number plates have been removed from police cars on the order of the Inspector General,” claimed Wajid Ali Durrani, DIG Traffic, when asked why police vehicles were allowed to go around with such plates. Durrani said that not only has the usage of such police mobiles been curtailed, but a campaign was initiated against VIP vehicles in this regard. Durrani added that a squad had been organised and dispatched to the Sindh Secretariat to remove illegal plates from police and official vehicles.

On the other hand, however, interviews with the security staff and police officers on duty at the Secretariat revealed that such a squad only exists on paper. In fact, official cars and police vehicles bearing such plates are seen routinely parked at the Sindh Secretariat and Civic Centre, where most of the local and provincial government offices are housed. Durrani said that nearly 40,000 vehicles have been fined for bearing illegal number plates and six million rupees in fines (Rs150 per vehicle) have been collected since the ban was imposed.

— By Mehroz Sadruddin

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Karachi tops in Human Rights violations

Karachi topped in human rights violations committed in Pakistan during 2008, the human rights minister informed the National Assembly yesterday.
Karachi was followed by Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.
Mumtaz Gilani said that 5,140 cases of human rights violations were recorded in the country with Karachi at the top with 2,102 cases. A total of 1,695 such cases were recorded in Lahore, 715 in Peshawar and 628 in Quetta.
There were 690 cases directly reported to the ministry, according to the written reply to a question asked by Chaudhry Barjees Tahir.
The minister said that the information was based on press reports and complainants lodged with the ministry and related departments.
To a supplementary question, he said that lack of education and practising of certain traditions were the main causes of human rights violations in Sindh.
In Punjab, however, personnel of the law enforcement agencies were found behind the rights violations committed in the province.
Responding to other parts of the question, the minister said that all the cases had been sent to relevant home departments for investigation.
He said that a national human rights co-ordination committee had been set up under the chairmanship of a minister and interior secretary and provincial ministers in-charge of human rights departments as its members.
Likewise, provincial ministers responsible for human rights are heading provincial human rights committees and they have been tasked to form such committees at the district level.
The National Assembly was informed that officials from the federal ministry and regional directorates visited prisons, hospitals and schools on a regular basis to get information about victims of human rights violations and chalk out plan for their redressal.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Karachi fears Mumbai-style attack

Karachi, Pakistan's main commercial centre, faces the same threat that brought terror to the streets of Mumbai, its Indian counterpart, at the end of last year, one of Pakistan's leading provincial politicians has said.

Ishrat-ul Ebad Khan, the governor of Sindh province of which Karachi is the capital, said the moderate and cosmopolitan city faced a "really challenging situation" as Taliban elements had infiltrated the population and raised funding from criminal activitiesto finance terrorist activities.

"There is the infiltration of a few people. For terrorism you don't need the masses, rather you need a few people to create havoc in your area," Mr Khan told the Financial Times.

Karachi is Pakistan's largest city and home to the country's banking industry and capital markets. Its largely moderate and diverse population has faced a growing terrorist threat. Between 2004 and 2005 about 300kg of explosives were detonated in the city but the security forces captured more than 3,000kg of explosives during that period.

India claims that Karachi was the launch pad for the sea-borne attack on Mumbai that left almost 200 people dead. New Delhi has handed evidence to the international community showing that Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani militant group, launched the commando-style attack by capturing an Indian fishing boat and sailing it into waters off -Mumbai.

"We had better prepare ourselves," said Mr Khan of the escalating confrontation with militants in Pakistan. He warned against minimising the internal threat, saying that a culture of denial had led to the loss of territory to extremists.

"If we do not accept the reality that the Taliban exist here, we get the kind of situation we have [elsewhere] in Pakistan. We have lost Peshawar and Swat. That happened because of our own denial," he said.

Mr Khan said Karachi shared many of the attr-ib-utes of Mumbai, as both are large ports where job opportunities attracted migrants.

He warned that hostility to Pakistan from India might intensify in the run-up to the April general election in India, and hamper efforts to revive the economy and fight- terrorism.

"All the work [to bring the two countries together] through intellectual and cultural contact and such went down the drain [after Mumbai]," Mr Khan said.

Government officials see Karachi's future as the country's commercial hub as tied directly to the way Pakistan emerges from the period of tension with India. "The trends continue to be very disturbing. The Indians are eager to keep up the pressure and the threat of a conflict, limited in scale, hasn't gone away," said one official.

India yesterday said it was speeding up a $1bn (€765m, £701m) weapons programme to modernise its armed forces in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan's leaders have tried to reassure the Indians of their determination to pursue the militants linked to the Mumbai attacks.

The US state department yesterday announced that Richard Holbrooke, special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, would travel to an international security conference in Munich next week and then on to the region.

*Pakistani police say they have arrested three men allegedly trained by India's spy agency to carry out attacks inside Pakistan, AFP reports from Islamabad. (Financial Times)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Karachi police arrests 4,100 for pillion-riding in 50 days

KARACHI: While the city police have arrested and penalised at least 4,100 motorcyclists since the Sindh home department clamped a ban on pillion-riding on Nov 30 last year, the restriction has become irksome for the general public as it has been placed by the authorities without citing any justification for it in the relevant notification.
The provincial home department had extended the ban on pillion-riding under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code for 40 days beginning on Jan 11.
According to a home department notification, any violation of this order shall attract penal action under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code. The ban would remain in place till Feb 19, it stated, adding that all the SHOs had been directed to take action against violators strictly in accordance with the relevant laws.
A pillion-riding ban was initially clamped after riots broke out in Karachi in November, and it has been extended for a third time. Security organisations staff, women, senior citizens and journalists are exempt from this ban.
Sources said that as many as 4,090 people were booked and arrested in around 1,558 FIRs registered against them under Section 188 of the PPC for violating the ban during the past 50 days.
Section 188 of the PPC says that whoever, knowing that by an order promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered him to promulgate such order, disobeys such direction may be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months or with a fine which may extend to Rs1,000 or with both.
The sources said that 2,253 offenders were booked in 803 FIRs under the relevant section for violating the pillion-riding ban in the south police zone, 1,169 booked in 440 FIRS in east zone and 678 motorcyclists were booked and arrested for the offence in 315 FIRs in the west police zone.
The capital city police chief, Wasim Ahmed, told Dawn that the police department had requested the home department for an extension in the pillion-riding ban for controlling the crime and maintaining law and order in the city.
'The overall rate of street crime has since declined,' he said, adding that pillion-riding always helped criminals and terrorists.
Justifying the ban, the CCPO said there was a sharp decrease in the incidence of carjacking due to the restriction on pillion-riding. 'In September, 20 cars were taken away on an average daily and the number dropped to some 9.8 in December,' he added.
Answering a question, the city police chief conceded that no known criminal or terrorist was among those arrested for violating the ban on pillion-riding.
'Criminals and terrorists have eventually stopped riding pillion on motorcycles following the ban,' he added.
Meanwhile, sources said the restriction on pillion-riding had caused a great deal of inconvenience to the public.
They said the arrested violators were produced before the deputy district officer, revenue, of the respective town, who had magisterial powers.
The sources said the DDOs were giving maximum relief to violators ordering their release on bail either against a surety of Rs5,000 or a personal bond.
They said the lawyers appearing on behalf of the violators were charging at least Rs2,000 for taking up a case before the EDOs.
A DDO, who did not wish to be named, said that a large number of cases registered under Section 188 for violating the pillion riding ban were pending disposal as the police did not submit the final charge-sheet against accused persons.
He said he had decided over 90 cases and a similar number was pending disposal as charge-sheets were not submitted by the police.
He said he only fined the violators and did not sentence any of them to a term in jail. 'They are not criminals and they deserve to be given maximum favour,' he said.
On the other hand, a number of victims told Dawn that they were initially asked by the policemen to grease their palms if they did not want the registration of cases against them.
'They (police) asked me to give Rs2,000 if I did not want to be booked in the FIR,' said a victim, who wished not to be named for obvious reasons. He said the policemen told him that in case of registration of an FIR against him, he would have to spend much more money to get released from court.
Despite repeated attempts, the provincial home secretary could not be contacted for comments.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dhabayjee-Karachi water supply line bursts

THATTA: Dhabayjee 72-inch diameter pipeline supplying water to Karachi ruptured, for reasons not known immediately.

The pipeline burst hitting the water supply to city has given rise to fears of water famine that the citizens might have to undergo. This pipeline was laid in 1978. Sources said that the pipeline ruptured due to frequent breakdown of electricity supply.

Water Board officials told that the repair work was underway and Karachi would be supplied water from alternative conduits.