Why gangsters allowed to turn certain areas into no-go areas: SC

Karachi: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday directed provincial police chief and director general of Rangers to explain as to why gangsters were allowed to turn certain areas, including Lyari into no-go areas where law enforcement agencies were unable to enter such areas.

A larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry resumed hearing Karachi law and order implementation case on Thursday at its registry in Karachi. Other members of bench comprised Justice Jawad S Khwaja, Khilji Arif Hussain, Amir Hani Muslim and Ajaz Afzal Khan.

The court grilled the police officials about the killings of Arshad Pappu belonging to notorious Lyari gang, his brother and confidant on 17th March. It also asked why the law enforcing agencies have failed to ensure peace in Lyari. To which, Shahid Hayat Khan DIGP told the court that police and even rangers were unable to enter Lyari. If police or rangers conduct any operations, they face resistance by criminals in that area, he said.

The CJP became visibly irked with the statement of the DIG as saying,“ It means that police were surrendering, we could not expect such statement from such police officials.” He went on to say that we had directed that there must be no ‘NO GO AREAS’ at all in Karachi and if any is found, IGP himself, and if necessary the DG Rangers also, to personally conduct the operation into such areas.

The court said, “Statement made by the police officer is not acceptable because it would mean that everyone is free to take law into hands. It is duty of police to enforce writ of the law and protect citizens, and rangers to control law and order”.

Counsel on behalf of the rangers submitted a report stating that we have not information about any no-go areas in the city, particular in Lyari. He submitted that whenever such information is brought into rangers’ notice, they conduct operations in such areas.

The court rejected the report of the rangers and directed it to place on record a specific report about the statement made by police regarding presence of no-go area in Lyari.

In another report, rangers informed the court that during last one year 65 operations, including targeted, cordon and search operations have been conducted in Lyari alone and 258 suspects have been arrested and handed over to police, adding all the areas of Lyari have been covered in these operations.

Rangers report said that it will carry out patrolling activity to check and monitor latest situation in the area.

However, CJP said that a report submitted by rangers negated statement of police regarding presence of no-go areas in city. The court ordered provision of report copy submitted by the rangers to police and directed IGP to hold meeting with DG rangers at the Chief Secretary office and put up joint statement either confirming context of report that there is no no-go area in the city, particularly Lyari.

The bench expressed anger at knowing that despite its orders, no permanent IG was appointed. Incharge chief secretary Arif Ahmed Khan informed the court that permanent IG would be appointed in the due course of the day.

The court inquired in charge chief secretary about the appointments and posting of 14 high officials in the police department on contract basis as it had earlier directed provincial government to cancel all such appointments contrary to the Section 14 of the Civil Servant Act.

The chief secretary submitted that chief minster asked the provincial law officer about his opinion regarding this matter who said that such appointments are in accordance with the Section 14 of the Civil Servant Act. He said that all such officers on the contract have been appointed keeping in view the public interest.

However, the court noted that in police, retired persons should not be appointed as it conveys disappointment and demoralize regular police officers.