KARACHI: Expressing satisfaction over the ongoing targeted operation of the security forces against criminals and terrorists in Karachi, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Friday said law and order situation in the metropolis has improved due to efforts of Rangers and police.

He was chairing a high level meeting at Pakistan Rangers’ Headquarters, said a press release issued here.

Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and other senior officials also attended the meeting.

The prime minister was briefed in detail about the achievements and the modus operandi adopted by the Rangers for a “successful, across the board operation against criminals and anti-social elements.”

Sharif expressed confidence in Rangers saying improvement in law and order situation of the port city is a testimony of the effectiveness and potential of the force.

He urged the high command of the paramilitary force to continue with the targeted operations and enhance the tempo to get rid of the menace of lawlessness and ensure an enduring peace.

The premier was received by DG Rangers Sindh Maj-Gen Rizwan Akhtar upon his arrival at the headquarters and was introduced to the sector commanders and senior staff officers.

Karachi, the largest metropolitan city and economic capital of Pakistan, is riddled with targeted killings, gang wars, kidnappings for ransom, extortion and terrorism.

Targeted operations led by Rangers’ forces with the support of police are ongoing in the city under a directive issued by the federal government against criminals already identified by the federal government and military and civilian agencies.

Karachi operation to continue till complete restoration of peace

The prime minister categorically stated that the ongoing operation will continue till peace and tranquility is fully restored in Karachi.

Speaking to the media following his visit to the Rangers headquarters, he said there was absolutely no deadline for the operation’s conclusion.

“We want to restore writ of the government,” said the premier adding that the operation was being conducted across the board without any consideration, political or otherwise.

Sharing details of the briefing given to him by the Rangers, he said 6,780 arrests were reported to him to have been made during the exercise.

Three of the accused have been convicted while cases of 1,408 are ready for trial as are already referred to the courts with 635 of them acquitted and 49 released on bail, he added.

He said the government in the province with absolute support of the federal government was fully committed to bring the criminals and terrorists to task and completely restore normalcy, a prerequisite for restoration of trade and industrial activity in the commercial hub.

“Peace and normalcy in Karachi is directly linked to progress and development of the country,” he said.

On business activities in Karachi and Taliban talks

Speaking to Karachi’s business community earlier, Sharif said criminal elements will be dealt with an iron hand and without any discrimination, to ensure peace in Karachi.

“There will be no politics on this issue, as this operation is against criminal elements....criminals will be dealt indiscriminately and according to law regardless of their political affiliation.”

Without naming anyone or party, he said, “the government will not let anyone exploit the situation and will in no way be blackmailed on this issue.”

He sought the cooperation of businessmen and media to address the issue.

About the issue of terrorism, Prime Minister Sharif recalled that the government had finalised the programme to initiate dialogue with Taliban and a delegation was also scheduled to leave next day when the process was impeded.

The government has accused the United States for sabotaging the peace process by killing Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud through a drone strike last week.

The premier reiterated the government's desire to have dialogue with Taliban for making Pakistan a peaceful country.

“We have made efforts in the past, and we will continue to make more efforts to hold talks with all those involved in militant activities,” he said. “At the moment this looks like the best way to ensure peace, and my sincere desire is that violence ends in all those areas which have been badly hit by violence in the past few years.”

The prime minister said he will have a detailed meeting with the business community soon.

“I have some economic reforms in my mind which I want to discuss with you people to ensure their implementation. Either I will call you in Islamabad or have an exclusive session on economy here very soon,” he said while making an apology for lack of time.

Energy issue

APP quoted the prime minister as saying said that the PML-N government with massive public mandate is determined to make strong and long-lasting decisions critical for pulling the country out of the present difficult situation. This, he added, included the energy crisis, which is as important as restoration of law and order.

“For the very purpose we at the very outset adopted a pragmatic approach and successfully addressed the circular debt issue via payment of Rs500 billion,” he said.

Moreover, an energy policy has been formulated under which a series of power plants, mainly hydro and coal based, are to be built.

“These are time consuming and are major projects which, however, have low running cost as compared to solar, wind-mill and other categories of power plants,” he said.

The envisaged hydro and coal power projects were scheduled to be completed in three years time, he said.

Mr Sharif said that the crisis be it energy or of any other type had no short-cut solutions and the entire country would have to share the responsibility in meeting the challenges.

“Instead of giving false hope we, besides adopting a pragmatic approach, have… attempted to bring on board the masses about the factual situation and interventions adopted by us.”

In reply to a question about the fate of Pak-Iran gas pipeline, he said issues of funds were involved besides chances of sanctions. “Yet we are keen to address our energy crisis and would look for every opportunity in the larger national interest.”