Special cabinet meeting convened: Govt prepares Karachi operation blueprint

Aug 29, 2013| Courtesy by : tribune.com.pk

By Sumera Khan / Zahid Gishkori

The government has prepared the blueprint of a ‘targeted operation’ in Karachi as a special meeting of the federal cabinet has been convened to weigh options for restoring order in the violence-ridden megacity.

 PHOTO: PID

PHOTO: PID

“The government has decided to take major political parties into confidence before launching a targeted operation to purge the city of criminals,” revealed Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan while addressing a news conference on Wednesday.

Nisar’s revelation came hours after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif summoned a special meeting of the federal cabinet to finalise a strategy to restore order in Karachi. “The situation is a matter of grave concern and all stakeholders should sit together to devise a joint strategy to check the situation,” Nawaz was quoted as telling a cabinet meeting.

“A special cabinet meeting will be held and I would like to invite Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) representative Farooq Sattar to attend,” the premier said and directed Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad‚ Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Sindh IG police, Rangers director general and senior intelligence officials, including the directors general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) to attend the meeting.

The interior minister said that the blueprint of the proposed operation would be discussed in the cabinet meeting. A senior official of the interior ministry told The Express Tribune that the prime minister was likely to give the go-ahead for the operation after consulting major political parties as well as heads of civilian and military intelligence agencies.

The development came a day after MQM chief Altaf Hussain demanded that Karachi should be handed over to the Pakistan Army.

Chaudhry Nisar, however, opposed a military operation in the city. “There is no need for a full-scale military operation in Karachi as scores of target killers, extortionists and criminals have already been identified,” he said, adding that the paramilitary Rangers were ready to launch the operation.

Under the proposed plan, Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah will lead the operation. The government wanted to give a leading role to the provincial government on a non-partisan basis, he added.

“Intelligence agencies have identified scores of criminals who have direct political links,” he told reporters. But there will no political victimisation, he added.

The interior ministry has almost completed its groundwork, and will place its proposed plan before the next cabinet meeting in the first week of September, he said, responding to a question.

The cabinet “will only focus on the worsening law and order situation in Karachi, in which the Sindh chief minister, Governor and all the heads of agencies will give their input”.

In another plan, the interior minister said the government is considering the formation of an outer committee to oversee the targeted operation. It will likely to have representation of the MQM, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Awami National Party, Jamaat-e-Islami, Sunni Tehreek, as well as members of the media and the business community.

The federal government will only assist the provincial government when it comes to setting up the operation’s modules and we will welcome the chief minister’s new plan, if there is any, for restoring peace in Karachi, he explained.

Responding to a question, Chaudhry Nisar said some other dangers also threaten the city but he did not explain these dangers right now.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2013.