Talibanization in Karachi

Council to keep watch on corrupt elements: Resolution passed for registration at UC level

* Installation of scanners at all entry and exit points

By Jamil Khan |  KARACHI

MEMBERS of both the benches in the City Council heatedly debated about the presence of Taliban in Karachi and adopted two separate resolutions.

The house also endorsed the recent comments of President Asif Ali Zardari to set up a registration process on the city’s entry and exit points as measures to control Talibanization.

The session held at the City Council Secretariat on Saturday was presided over by City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil. The debate started after Masood Mehmood of the treasury bench tabled a resolution. Opposition members supported the resolution; they incorporated some suggestions in it regarding precautionary measures against the hidden growth of Talibanization in Karachi.

In the resolution, the members pointed out that the threats received by shop keepers of CD shops in two plazas at Banaras Chowk created panic among the city’s business community. “People fear that the fundamentalists known as Taliban in Karachi will next threaten to bomb barber shops and later educational institutes for women, but before that happens the citizens of Karachi will become a solid wall against such fundamentalism,” said Mehmood. He stated that President Asif Ali Zardari instructed the provincial government to start a registration process of those people in Karachi who are from other provinces so that a vigil eye can be kept on corrupt elements.

In this resolution, Saeed Ghani and others members of the opposition benches suggested that the registration process should be started at a union council level and should include details such as property and tenants. They also suggested that scanners should be installed at the city’s entry and exit points and the law enforcement agencies should be provided with the latest equipment so that they can tackle these terrorist issues easily. After members from both benches made speeches expressing their point of views, the benches unanimously adopted the resolution.

Earlier on, Dr Ziauddin from the opposition bench mentioned that the banners displayed in Banaras were not a threat from Taliban but from the building owners who plan to renovate the structures. These owners asked their tenants, who are mostly CD shop owners, to vacate the buildings. “Some quarters are using the fear of Talibanization to their advantage, they create panic among the citizens so that they can get their way, this should be straightened,” he demanded. Dr Ziauddin feared that the anarchy that targets Pukhtoon areas of Karachi will become a danger to the peace of the city and it should be avoided.

Mehmood, who tabled the resolution, said that the CD shop owners at Banaras Chowk as well as Rainbow Center, approached the government and expressed their fear that Taliban in the city aims to destroy their businesses.

In their speeches many treasury members including Asif Siddiqi, Arshad Qureshi, Muhammad Imran, Sarwat Arif and Abdul Jalil pointed out that MQM leader Altaf Hussain has already highlighted the presence of Taliban in Karachi and now President Zardari commented on this. They made it clear that they were against terrorism and the version of Shariat that was portrayed by ‘Danda-bardar’ and ‘Kalashinkov-bardar’ fundamentalists.

Opposition members including Saeed Ghani, Ramzan Awan and Sheikh Mehboobur Rehman stated that they were supporting the condemnation of terrorist activities but they also emphasized that specific ethnic groups should not be targeted in the fight against terrorism. They termed the registration process of outsiders as a tactic to create anarchy among the citizens of Karachi and the people visiting the city from the other provinces. They suggested that the government should set up a vaccination facility at airports and seaports to vaccinate people coming to Karachi.

Mumtaz Shamim Wasi made it clear that if the city government sets up registration camps on Karachi’s borders then other provinces and major cities will do the same. “Taking such steps is a conspiracy to divide Pakistan into four provinces,” she commented.

Ibrahim Mughal pointed out that the government should focus on uprooting the reasons encouraging fundamentalists to carry out terrorist activities in the country.

The majority of the house members adopted another resolution tabled by Arshad Qureshi even though the opposition members in the treasury benches opposed it. The resolution proposed that the city government will set up medical camps on all entry and exit points of Karachi and people entering the city will get vaccinated so that the city is protected from diseases. “It is confirmed that the majority of diseases including polio in Karachi were brought by people belonging to different parts of the country, this vaccination program will secure the city besides controlling the haphazardly increase in population and encroachments,” he said.

The resolution also appreciated the city government’s efforts highlighted by President Zardari in his meeting with Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan. The convener adjourned the city council session till 3:00 pm on Tuesday November 25.

-Published in Daily Times

~ by jamilkhan on November 23, 2008.

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