The Sindh cabinet on Wednesday doubled, and in some cases more than doubled, the compensation for victims of terrorism, natural disasters, target killings and crossfire.
Held at the Chief Minister House with CM Syed Murad Ali Shah in chair, the advisory group’s meeting was attended by the chief secretary and all the provincial ministers, advisers and relevant officers.
The home department had held a meeting in March to discuss a proposal of revisiting the compensation rates for civilian victims of terrorism, natural disasters and other incidents. On Wednesday the cabinet approved the home department’s recommendations.
Compensation for loss of life due to terrorism has been increased from Rs500,000 to Rs1 million, due to crossfire from Rs200,000 to Rs500,000, and due to targeted attacks from Rs200,000 to Rs500,000.
Compensation for injuries to minors due to terrorism has been retained at Rs100,000. Earlier, there was no compensation for injuries to adults due to terrorism, but it has now been fixed at Rs200,000. Compensation for permanent disabilities due to terrorism has been increased from Rs200,000 to Rs400,000.
Compensation for loss of life of breadwinner due to natural disasters or other causes has been increased from Rs100,000 to Rs200,000 and of non-breadwinners from Rs30,000 to Rs100,000. Compensation for families who suffer losses due to natural disasters or other causes has been increased from Rs5,000 to Rs50,000.
Law & order
Sindh police chief Mushtaq Mahar told the cabinet that terrorism has been stopped completely. He said that 10 people were killed in targeted attacks last year but two this year.
Mahar said that 944 murders were reported last year but 786 this year. He said 75 extortion cases were reported last year and 76 this year, while 28 ransom kidnappings last year and 106 this year.
He claimed that the reason behind a rise in abductions was victims being lured by female voices over the phone. He pointed out that the trend had increased especially in the rural areas but was now under control to some extent.
He said that 3,966 proclaimed offenders and 7,934 absconders have been arrested while 4,297 weapons recovered this year until last month. He also said that 448,350 litres of Iranian diesel has been seized and 186 culprits arrested for its smuggling.
The police chief said that 749 shoot-outs have been carried out, 537 gangs busted, 8,112 street criminals arrested, 21 robbers killed and 6,504 other criminals arrested during the same period.
Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon claimed before the cabinet that the main reason for rampant street crime in the city is drug addicts living on the streets.
He also claimed that whenever strict operations are launched against drug addicts, the rate of street crime plummets. He said thefts and other criminal activities are main sources of income for such addicts to acquire drugs.
Memon said that this year 908 robbers were arrested, of whom 152 were released within a week, 114 in two weeks, 140 within a month, 163 in three months, 183 in six months and 156 after six months, pointing out that all of them were ultimately released on bail.
He also informed the cabinet that 2,455 people had filed applications against street criminals, but later only 475 of those complainants had agreed to get FIRs registered.
Sindh’s chief executive directed the top cop of the province to strengthen the investigation branch and set up a separate cadre, if necessary, for such cases.
The CM also urged the police chief to upgrade his 2G locators to 4G locators for tracing mobile phones, increase the number of crime scene units from eight to 13, and establish a fingerprint mechanism.
Shah said he would take action against the police officers in whose jurisdiction a person was kidnapped. He directed the police chief to inform all the SHOs in Sindh, particularly in Karachi, not to allow encroachment, otherwise he would take strict action against them.
Revenue Minister Makhdoom Mahboob said the federal government has announced a package for the construction sector, adding that the Centre has requested the provincial governments to club all provincial, municipal taxes, duties, fees, levies and transfer/registration charges of urban properties under one head and charge them at two per cent of the property value.
The cabinet approved the proposal and directed the Board of Revenue senior member to examine the status of all the taxes. The advisory group said that if the law needed to be amended, it would be referred to the provincial assembly, otherwise its notifications should be issued.
Food Minister Hari Ram said that crackdown on wheat hoarders had started, and that by Friday evening the CM would be provided a report on the quantity of wheat seized after the two-day operation.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cabinet approved inserting Clause 1-A in the Sindh Board of Technical Education Ordinance 1970 and in the Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education Ordinance 1972. The sub-section states: “The boards will have the power to grant certificates and diplomas to the candidates promoted without examinations due to the outbreak of an epidemic or a pandemic or an emergency declared by the government.”
Finance Secretary Hassan Naqvi presented a report on the federal fiscal transfers for 2018-19. The CM said that presenting the federal revenue transfers to the cabinet was required under the constitution’s Article 150(3)b, which states that the details be presented to cabinet and the provincial assembly every six months. The advisory group was told that for 2018-19, Sindh was transferred Rs304.3 billion in the first half and another Rs310.069 billion in the second half.
Keeping in view the thefts, misuse and abuse of vehicles, the chief executive had approved Rs400 million to introduce security-featured number plates across the province.
The new number plate with special security features has a template of Ajrak and the Mazar-e-Quaid. The cabinet approved the proposal but asked the relevant department to once again discuss its final feature with the sub-committee.
Before starting the meeting, the cabinet members had observed a one-minute silence to mourn the death of and pay their respects to Sister Ruth Lewis. The CM and his cabinet paid rich tributes to the soul of the departed and said her services for the disabled are unforgettable and will be go down prominently in history. The advisory group recommended that the federal government award a civil award to Sister Ruth.