By Aftab Channa –
Pique exclusively reveals decisions taken in the Apex Committee meeting for curbing terrorism in restive Karachi
On Air Surveillance, Financial Choking of Terrorism, Shifting of CPLC, Crisis Control Mechanism, Procurement of APCs, Madrassahs Reforms and many more
With the poor governance and alleged irregularities in financial matters of the Sindh province, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif has instructed the Pakistan People’s Party-led Sindh government to expedite implementation on the decision taken by the top most civil-military leaderships few days back.
In the aftermath of deadly Safoora Chowrangi terrorist act on Ismailis, Special Apex Committee meeting was convened at Headquarters 5 Corps on May 14, 2015 that chalked out a future line of action for the Sindh government and emphasis were laid on the speedy implementation of the decision taken on the occasion.
The meeting was attended by military participants including Chief of Army Staff, Director General ISI, Commander 5 Corps, Director General ISPR, Director General Military Operations, Director General Military Intelligence, DG PR Sindh, Sector Commander ISI Karachi, Commander 202 Survey Sec, Commander CTW ISI Karachi and Chief of Staff 5 Corps. While the civil participants included Governor Sindh, Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, Inspector General Police, Home Secretary, Joint Director General IB, Additional Director Federal Investigation Authority, Deputy Inspector General Special Branch Police.
The meeting discussed various security related issued and took important decision. As per minutes of the meeting following important decision were taken:
Considering the complexity of internal security management, air surveillance of Karachi was considered necessary for timely detection and quick response, use of helicopter for the purpose is considered not financially viable. Therefore, Government of Sindh was requested to study Kabul Model static air balloons with installed cameras for surveillance along with requisite command and control communication mechanism/interface. Moreover, scanners be installed at inter provincial and Karachi entry/exit points to check the flow of weapons and terrorists. The proposal was concurred by the Governor and Chief Minister.
As a result of any act of terrorism, media either out of irresponsibility or due to vested interest tries to undermine the Karachi operation. Therefore, it was emphasized that ISPR and Government of Sindh need to effectively engage media. Narratives on importance of revival of Karachi and in line with national interest need to be embedded in media through effective management.
Special emphasis is required to choke the financial flow to the terrorists and militants. It was recommended to Government of Sindh to include Director FIA as member of Provincial Apex Committee and the CM gave his concurrence. The COAS also requested Government of Sindh for taking concrete/tangible steps to choke the finances of terrorists.
Shifting of CPLC
CPLC is recommended to be shifted from Governor House to Police Headquarters to make it more effective, non controversial and gain the confidence of public. The officials having good repute be posted in CPLC and rotated only after specified tenure.
Counter Terrorism Cell to be established at Corps Headquarters to develop comprehensive mosaic of Karachi internal security environment. All civil and military intelligence agencies will share input will share input according to a mechanism approved by the Corps. The common intelligence picture at Corps level will assist in developing actionable intelligence.
Crisis Control Mechanism
Karachi does not have a crisis management system to deal a terrorist attack or natural/manmade disaster. Therefore, Government of Sindh was asked to study the model of Crisis Control management system in Rawalpindi and Rescue 1122 and establish crisis control mechanism for Karachi.
Security System for Soft Targets
Private organizations, communities, minorities and schools do not have appropriate security system and these soft targets remain vulnerable to any hostile/terrorism act. The Government of Sindh was requested to issue ordinance/policy for all soft targets to have independent security mechanism with resistance capacity before application of LEAs.
Capacity building of police was identified as an immediate requirement to improve security of Karachi and Sindh. The COAS assured Government of Sindh that he would request Federal Government to release a special package for Sindh police. He asked IG Sindh to share his demand with GHQ and maximum assistance possible will be provided from the Army resources.
Effective Functioning of Government Institutions
Frequent transfers/postings of police and government officials are one of the major impediments in ineffective functioning of various departments. The COAS requested the Government to evolve the mechanism for ensuring stability and merit based posting/transfers.
Anti Dacoit Operation
The COAS appreciated the anti dacoit operation of police in Ghotki. He directed Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) to plan a joint operation with police and provide maximum assistance. Progress of the operation is shared with Military Operation Directorate through Headquarters 5 Corps.
The Government of Sindh wanted to procure APCs having protection from RPG-7 and 12.7mm. It was clarified that even military grade APCs don’t have this protection and these are only troops carrying vehicles and not meant for fighting. Only IFVs have this capability which is very expensive and not easily available. The COAS suggested Government of Sindh that requirement of Police can be met through locally built APCs with additional armour plating for protection.
The Federal Government has not issued policy on Maddrassh reforms which is the main impediment in implementation at provincial level. The Government of Sindh was requested to approach Federal Government for early finalization of Madrassahs reforms.
Crackdown on Banned Sectarian Outfits
The banned religious/sectarian organizations conduct rallies with different names. Therefore, the Government of Sindh was requested to undertake legislation on holding rallies by the banned outfit.
Revamping of Special Branch of Police
Special Branch is the oldest intelligence organization of police and has very effective ingress at the grass root level. The meeting decided to revamp the organization.
COAS Closing Remarks
The Chief of Army Staff thanked the Governor and CM and appreciated the contribution of all the participants. He emphasized that such heinous and horrendous act of terrorism can not affect the resolve and resilience of the nation and the LEAs. He reiterated that across the board operation will be continued in Karachi with enhanced tempo till its logical culmination. The peaceful and friendly environment will be restored in Karachi.
The writer is a senior journalist based in Karachi