CJP asks law enforcers to purge Karachi of illegal arms

KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Thursday said that arms and ammunition were pouring into Karachi from India, Israel and Russia via sea, and law enforcers should cleanse the city of illegal arms at all costs, even if they will have to take some drastic steps like imposing curfew in the city.

A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, comprising Justices Jawwad S. Khawaja, Khilji Arif Hussain, Amir Hani Muslim and Azmat Saeed resumed the hearing of the Karachi law and order implementation case at apex court’s Karachi registry.

Advocate general of the Sindh Khalid Khan said that law and order situation has significantly improved since the rangers and police have launched operation in the city. He said that due to the operation every type of crime including targeted killings, extortion, kidnapping for ransom has decreased.

He informed the court that so far over 1,357 criminals involved in various crimes had been arrested.

The bench appreciated the approval of the witness protection bill that according to provincial government would provide protection to the witnesses and it will also help courts to prosecute and indict criminals. The bench took exception to the fact that laws are legislated but not being implemented. Laws are only meant to be written in books but not implemented, remarked one of the members of the bench.

Referring to a case of journalist Wali Khan Babar, the bench said that law for providing protection to the witnesses was already present but not implemented, adding that five witnesses of murder of the journalist were exterminated despite directives of high court to police to provide them protection.

The bench said that in this situation no one comes forward to testify in the courts; however, the courts were being blamed that criminals are freed.

The CJP said that murders of witnesses would not have been possible without connivance of influential persons in police department. He said that criminals would be punished by the courts when the prosecution place before the court solid evidences.

The bench observed that police should have treated the case of murdered journalist as exceptional case and tried to take the case to its logical conclusion by pursuing the case effectively in the court in order to create some deterrence.

The Chief Justice remarked that the police officials who took part in the 1992 and 1996 operations in Karachi were killed but the police did not make any effort to arrest those involved in their killing except providing compensation to the legal heirs of victim. For God sake, do something and save the country, he snapped while observing that only cosmetic measures were taken.

CJP said that arms and ammunition were pouring into Karachi from India, Israel and Russia through sea launches. Currency was being also smuggled through the launches, he added. He said that law enforcers should go after the smuggled arms and ammunition and recover illegal arms at all cost, adding that even if they will have to take some drastic steps like imposing curfew in the city.

He said that if government controls the smuggling of the currency, dollar had not get appreciation against Pak rupee.

Even the rates of Pulses (lentil) rose with increase in dollar value, remarked one member of bench.

Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked that in the past bicycles used to be rented but now weapons are being rented in the city.

The bench ordered for making findings of a report public prepared by a senior customs official Ramzan Bhatti regarding smuggling of arms and ammunition as well as evasion of duty on different items at Karachi port.

The report said that Intelligence agencies deny the very fact that arms and currency were being smuggled through sea but there were 39 possible sea routes through which a launch can be used for smuggling of various things, and added while only seven of these routes were guarded.

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