Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid offered on Tuesday to deploy more Rangers paramilitary in Karachi to curb the rising incidents of street crime in the metropolis.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he said: “If the Sindh government asks, we are ready to increase [the deployment of] our Rangers forces. We are even ready to deploy them at police stations.”
“If [Sindh] Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah ask us for any assistance, we are willing to provide it,” he added.
In response to a question, he further said the situation in Karachi was not good.
“The situation that I saw in Karachi yesterday cannot be expressed in words … It seems as if there is no law [and order] in Karachi and this could have adverse consequences.”
Rashid’s offer for increasing Rangers’ troops in Karachi comes after Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MPA in the Sindh Assembly, Khurram Sher Zaman, wrote a letter to the interior minister, urging federal authorities to look into the important issue of rising street crime in Karachi and “take whatever appropriate measures are available to you as per the Constitution and law”.
In the letter, which he shared on his Twitter, Zaman cited data by the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee, highlighting that 80,661 incidents of street crime were reported in Karachi in 2021, a surge of 27.2 per cent from 2020.
“Predictably, the people of Karachi have lost confidence and hope in the Sindh government and Karachi police,” he wrote. “We are looking towards you, the prime minister and the federal government, for crucial help to improve the law-and-order situation in Karachi, as the prevailing law of the jungle is unacceptable.”
Over the past few days, there has been a surge in killing during armed robberies and other street crimes in the city, with growing complaints from all segments of society that have also called out the security administration and provincial government for its failure to curb such incidents.
The recent violent incidents included the murder of a journalist associated with Samaa TV, Ather Mateen, which renewed criticism over the provincial authorities failure to control the rise in street crime in Karachi.
On Monday, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah presided over a meeting to work out a strategy for eradicating street crime in the city.
It was decided in the meeting that targeted operations would be launched against criminals in the city, and there would be legislation on e-tagging of habitual criminals.
During the meeting, the chief minister also rebuked police and the Rangers for the surge in street crime, saying: “I usually visit the city secretly but hardly have seen the police and Rangers on the roads or on patrolling in areas.”
Today, the chief minister visited slain Samaa TV journalist’s residence to condole with his family, according to a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office.
Speaking to the media on the occasion, he said Mateen’s family had been assured that his killers would be punished.
“We are taking strict measures” to curb crime, he said, adding that the investigation of Mateen’s murder was under way and expressed resolve to “defeat street criminals”.
Meanwhile, Rashid also announced during his press conference that Prime Minister Imran Khan would launch an e-passport service after his return from Russia.
He said 13 new passport offices would be established in Sindh while 28 identity card stations of the National Database and Regulatory would be set up in the four provinces.
The interior minister reaffirmed the commitment to crush foreign-funded terrorists.
Regarding the upcoming visit of the Australian cricket team, the interior minister said excellent arrangements had been made for their security.
He further said the armed forces realised the critical situation in the country and that is why they said “we are with the elected government”.
With regards to the political situation, Rashid said opposition parties would not get anything from their protest campaigns.
He said their move to table a no-confidence motion would also fail.
“If the opposition says they have kept their cards hidden, Imran Khan also keeps his cards close to his chest,” he remarked. “Your talks, meetings and requests will not work.”
In response to a question, he said in his view, the PTI should also engage its estranged leader Jahangir Tareen in talks.
“But the decision is Imran Khan’s.”
To another question, he said after the recent amendments to the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, the IT ministry had decided that the “investigation of cases [under the law] would be taken up by us.”