Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Peace committees being set up in Karachi
KARACHI, April 30: The main coalition partners in the Sindh government — the Pakistan People’s Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Awami National Party — have decided to set up ‘peace committees’ at union council and mohalla levels to foil “conspiracy” to destabilise the government. The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Thursday in the wake of ethnic violence which left over 30 dead and scores wounded on Wednesday. About two dozen vehicles were torched in different parts of the city. Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, senior political leaders and representatives of law-enforcement agencies attended the meeting, which lasted five hours. At a press conference after the meeting, Dr Mirza (representing both the PPP and the government), Dr Farooq Sattar of the MQM and Amin Khattak of the ANP said decisions had been taken to contain violence. They said that those who were caught red-handed would be dealt with according to law and no criminal would be spared. Dr Mirza said the home department had authorised the Rangers and police to open fire on “anti-state elements” found endangering the life and property of citizens. He said an exhaustive discussion was held during the meeting on the causes of violence. President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, MQM leader Altaf Hussain and ANP chief Asfandyar Wali had expressed their concern over the bloodshed in Karachi, he added. Dr Mirza said the prime minister would visit Karachi on Friday to assess the situation. The minister said compensation for loss of life and injury and damage to property would be paid after verification of affected families. He appealed to the media to show restraint while showing footage or sharing news because it would help contain the violence. Dr Farooq Sattar asserted there was no conflict between the PPP, the MQM and the ANP, terming the outbreak of violence a “conspiracy”. Amin Khattak said the ANP was satisfied with the conduct of law-enforcement personnel.