Army, Rangers to launch joint operation against dacoits in Sindh’s ‘katcha area’

KARACHI: Sindh Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar on Friday greenlighted the Pakistan Army and Sindh Rangers’ comprehensive joint operation against dacoits in the province’s Katcha (riverine) area.

Chairing the 28th meeting of the provincial APEX committee in Karachi, the interim CM approved a joint comprehensive operation against dacoits in the area of Sukkur and Larkana divisions.

During the meeting Justice (retd) Baqar expressed dismay over authorities’ failure to neutralise and tackle a handful of outlaws in the Katcha area bringing the construction of the Ghotki-Kashmore bridge to a halt.

The huddle was attended by provincial ministers and security officials including Caretaker Sindh Home Minister Brigadier (retd) Haris Nawaz, Corps Commander Karachi Lieutenant (Lt) General Babar Iftikhar, Sindh Inspector General Police (IGP) Riffat Mukhtar, Director General (DG) Sindh Rangers Major General Azhar Waqas, Chief Secretary Dr Fakhre Alam and others.

Briefing the session on the situation in the riverine area, IGP Mukhtar apprised that around 50 to 60 dacoits were operating in the Katcha area whereas the rest were their tribesmen living there.

The IGP accentuated that the police have prepared the list of the wanted dacoits and that eight forward base camps were being established with 50 personnel each in the Katcha area of the four districts – six each in Ghotki and Kashmore, four in Shikarpur and two in Sukkur.

Meanwhile, 400 police check posts were being established of which 210 have been constructed with a deployment of 3,200 policemen, IGP Mukhtar said.

Briefing the meeting on the prevailing kidnapping for ransom menace, the IGP said that a total of 220 persons have been kidnapped in 2023 so far, of which 128 were kidnapped in Larkana, 46 in Sukkur, 42 in Karachi three in Hyderabad and one in Shaheed Benazirabad.

Out of the 220 kidnapped individuals, 210 have been recovered, he added.

Responding to the requirement of sophisticated military-grade weapons — such as sniper rifles, grenade launchers, mortars, night vision devices, and drones — Corp Commander Lt General Babar Iftikhar Babar apprised that the Ministries of Defence and Interior have already issued the required clearance for the procurement of weapons.

The development comes as the authorities earlier this week, had seized a huge cache of military-grade weapons in Ghotki.

Lt General Babar Iftikhar also directed Sindh Rangers to provide security for the people working at the construction site of Ghotki-Kashmore bridge.

Karachi street crime

The APEX committee huddle also discussed increasing street crime in the metropolis with Additional IG (AIG) Karachi Khadim Rind briefing the committee on the overall crime situation in the city.

The AIG apprised the meeting that 61,098 street crime cases were reported in the city so far (September 17 2023).

District East topped the chart with 17,570 street crime cases followed by District Central’s 14,648, and District Korangi’s 10,731 cases.

Meanwhile, 6,551 street crime cases were reported in District West, 3,193 in Malir, 3,174 in Keamari and 2,741 in District South

The committee was also told that 411 people were n killed in various street crime incidents in the metropolis.

The chief minister directed the police to come up with a comprehensive strategy to curb the street crime menace.

Furthermore, it was also decided that a joint operation by police and Rangers would be launched against street criminals and drug mafia operating in the city.

The committee also approved frequent combing operations in slum areas, snap-checking duration peak hours, surveillance and action against bailed-out criminals, repeat offenders, narcotic peddlers, and absconders.

Additionally, the huddle agreed on increasing surveillance through CCTV camera networks and command and control centres with the chief minister constituting a committee including provincial caretaker minister Omar Soomro with Sindh Planning and Development Department Chairman Shakeel Mangijo, Home Secretary Iqbal Memon, and DG Safe City Authority Aijaz Shaikh to submit a report on the implementation of the Safe City Project.

Action to be taken against illegal hydrants

The APEX committee was also briefed by Sindh DG Rangers General Azhar Waqas who apprised that 27 operations against illegal hydrants in various districts across Karachi.

27 illegal hydrants were sealed and 43 individuals were arrested during the raids, the meeting was told.

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