Published: July 31, 2015
Chaudhry Nisar. PHOTO: FILE

Chaudhry Nisar. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: There has been a dramatic turnaround in targeted killing cases in Karachi since the authorities launched an operation against criminals, the government claimed on Thursday, noting that the homicide rate was down by almost half.

Briefing the National Assembly on the Karachi crackdown, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said that the once dreaded targeted killings in the port city had gone down by 43%. Similarly, he added, incidents of murder and terrorism had fallen by 37% and 6.7%, respectively, during the period.

Highlighting the achievements of the law enforcement agencies, the security czar said 713 terrorists along with 58,603 other suspected criminals had been arrested in Karachi while 14,253 weapons were seized.

The minister said that over 280,000 immigrants from five major countries alone were living in Pakistan.

A total of 116,308 Afghan nationals are living in the country, higher than in any other country around the world, he told the House. Another 52,486 Americans, 79,447 Britons and 17,320 Canadians are residing in Pakistan, he added.

Interestingly, around 16,501 Indians were also said to be living in the country. “An effective policy is being implemented to stop immigrants from coming to Pakistan for illegal activities,” Nisar said, claiming an estimated 400,000 foreigners had arrived in Pakistan since 2007.

Admitting the inadequate number of passport offices across the country, he said the government wanted to double their number from the existing 79. “These offices will be established on merit wherever required,” he added.

The minister said the government was formulating new policies regarding the Exit Control List, weapon licences, and issuance of visas. A policy regarding security agencies will be announced within two months, whereby they will have to get security clearance of their employees and conduct proper training of their personnel.

Mullah Omar’s death

During the assembly session, the government remained tight-lipped over the death of the Afghan Taliban chief despite questions about Mullah Omar by a few lawmakers.

“The government has kept us in the dark on this issue, but we need to know the truth,” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Dr Shireen Mazari said. Though she insisted again and again on being told about the Taliban supremo, no one from the treasury benches listened to her. Nisar and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif also refrained from commenting on the issue.

Flash floods

With rains and floods causing devastation across the country, a notice put forward by MNA Naveed Qamar brought into question the relief efforts of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Climate Change Minister Mushahidullah Khan claimed all efforts were being made to help the flood-hit people.

“The government, political leadership and other people should come forward to help the people,” he said, pointing out that rains and floods were the result of climate change.

Laws of Pakistan ordinance

The assembly also extended the Publication of Laws of Pakistan (Regulation) Ordinance 2015, for another 120 days, for which the resolution was moved by Information and Broadcasting Minister Pervaiz Rashid.

The Safeguard Measures (Amendment) Ordinance 2015, The Countervailing Duties Ordinance 2015, The Anti-Dumping Duties Ordinance 2015 and The National Tariff Commission Ordinance 2015 were also extended for a period of 120 days.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2015.