Expressing displeasure at the worsening law and order situation in Karachi, President Asif Ali Zardari has directed the law enforcing agencies to conduct raids on the dens of criminal elements.

Chairing a meeting at the Chief Minister House on Thursday, the president also took notice of proliferation of the arms and weapons in the metropolis and observed that the arms licences should be Smart Card-based to ensure that no fictitious licences were issued.

Taking note of the use of mobile phones by the militants and criminals, Zardari also asked the government to work out a plan to ensure that no SIMs are available at the retail shops and the outlets of mobile companies, rather they are posted to the CNIC addresses of the applicants. The president directed the interior minister to frame draft in this regard for the cabinet’s approval.

The president advised the provincial law minister to work on enacting suitable legislation, in consultation with all stakeholders, for the protection of the witnesses. He observed that one of the reasons hindering effective prosecution was that witnesses backed out due to fear and insecurity. He advised the government to study the model of witness protection laws adopted in other countries in the wake of rising militant activities for this purpose.

Briefing the media, Presidential Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said the meeting was attended by Acting Sindh Governor Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik, provincial ministers, IG Police, DG Rangers, Secretary General to the President and senior federal and provincial officials. CM Qaim Ali Shah briefed the president about the overall law and order situation in the province, especially in the metropolis. The federal interior minister also gave an overview of the security situation.

Farhatullah said that President Zardari emphasised that maintenance of order was a shared responsibility of all the political forces and concerted efforts should be made by all concerned for ensuring peace in the metropolitan city. Zardari said that no effort should be spared in ensuring smooth law and order and no discrimination be made in dispensing justice to the law-violators. He said that ensuring security of the citizens was the prime responsibility of the government and all efforts should be taken in this regard.

Chairing a meeting on the establishment of Pakistan Kidney Institute (PKI) at Islamabad, the president said that public-private partnership model can be successfully followed to overcome the shortage of medical facilities for catering to the growing health needs of a booming population of the country. Those who were present during this meeting included Prof Dr Saeed Akhter, Dr Syed Nayer Mahmud, Dr Manzoorul Haq Qazi, CEO and President Shifa International Hospital and other doctors associated with the project.

President Zardari said that in view of rising numbers of kidney and urological diseases, there was an urgent need to establish a state of the art institute that could cater to these diseases especially of the poor segments of society who cannot afford exorbitant diagnostic and treatment cost involved with such diseases.

In this context the president commending the role of Prof Dr Adibul Hasan Rizvi and the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplant (SIUT) in Karachi being the leading institute in this field in the country, remarked that in view of the shortage of such state-of-the art facilities especially for the people of the upper region of the country, there was an urgent need to establish one in the capital city for catering to the growing demands of an increased population.

Prof Dr Saeed Akhter briefed the president about the feasibility of establishment Pakistan Kidney & Liver Institute in collaboration with COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT). According to the proposal, the Institute is envisioned to be a not-for-profit organisation where 50% patients will be paying while 50% beds will be for non-paying poor patients. The revenue generated from the paying patients would be utilised in providing relief to the poor patients.

It said that in near future, liver services will also be added to Institute. The proposal stated that PKI will work as an independent organisation under its board in collaboration with COMSATS. The meeting was informed that land was available for the establishment of PKI. The president also appreciated the role being played by the doctors of the private sector in the establishment of this centre of excellence in urology, nephrology liver diseases and Transplantation.

During a meeting on Sindh Medical University, the president directed for significantly increasing the number of merit-based as well as seats for student from rural Sindh so as to provide opportunities to those deserving students who despite talent cannot reap the benefits of establishment of university due to limited number of seats.

Those present during the meeting included Acting Governor Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, CM Qaim Ali, Federal Minister Dr Farooq Sattar, Dr Noshad Sheikh, Dr Tariq Rafi, SMU VC, alumnus of Sindh Medical University and concerned senior officials. The president commended the role the university has played so far in imparting medical education to the students. He also called upon the provincial government to resolve legislative issues of the SMU.

The last meeting in the series was with the Sindh Chapter of Civil Service Academy Alumni wherein the president also laid the foundation of a housing society for the civil servants. According to the prepared text of the speech, President Zardari observed that an efficient, effective and dedicated civil service could play a decisive role in finding solutions to the issues confronted by the country that continue to haunt us and hinder our progress.

He said that the government believes in safeguarding the legitimate interests of the civil service of Pakistan and was conscious of the need to attract the best talent in civil services. He said that the government was also aware of reforming the pay packages of the civil servants, and catering to issues such as transportation and the housing facility in big cities like Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta. The president assured the government would do its best to resolve the problems that stand in the way of a motivated and satisfied civil service.

Zardari orders ‘operation’ in Karachi