On 28th March 2017,The Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) organized a one day seminar, titled “Governance and Security Issues of Karachi: Can there be More Federal Ownership – A Debate” at Marriot Hotel, Karachi, Pakistan. The seminar was aimed at generating a debate on issues, options and future prospects related to governance as well as security issues of Karachi.
The event was graced with the presence of Governor Sindh Mr. Muhammad Zubair Umar as Chief Guest and DG Rangers Major General Muhammad Saeed as Guest of honor. Moreover a large number of people frombusiness community, civil society, social and political personalities, university professors and students, researchers, lawyers, journalists and individuals from different walks of life have attended the event.
During the seminar issues of governance and security in Karachi have been highlighted by the experts of Finance and Security affairs. Additionally a debate was generated to find out possible solutions to the issues faced by the financial capital of Pakistan. Experts stressed on the fact that stable Karachi is Important for stability of Pakistan.
The seminar served as a platform for government officials, businessmen and other stake holders to sit together discuss and think of suitable solutions to help Karachi come out of the ongoing governance and security issues making right use of the resources on development of Karachi while involving all the stake holders’ particularly residents of Karachi.
Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies is an Islamabad based think tank which is focused on Conflict and Security issues in South, Central and West Asia. It is the only independent entity in Pakistan which has created online free database of terrorism incidents and related casualties in Pakistan. This database is regularly updated on daily basis and can provide statistics since 9/11 for any district of Pakistan. PICSS also conducts field researches on critical issues related to Pakistan’s national security. PICSS has conducted seminars and in-house discussions on many issues.On 28th March 2017, The Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) organized a one day seminar, titled “Governance and Security Issues of Karachi: Can there be More Federal Ownership – A Debate” at Marriot Hotel, Karachi, Pakistan.It was a collaborated work of PICSS, World group, Zafa Group and Crown Group.
Key Note Address
The discussion was initiated by Major General (r) Muhammad Saad Khattak,Director General PICSS.General Khattak has briefed the audience with the detailed introduction and functioning of PICSS.
He said that, this is not only a seminar but a platform to generate a debate and this expert level discussion will be fruitful and policy oriented to resolve the issues of Karachi.
His address was followed by Mr. Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, Secretary National security Division. His delivered his speech on the theme “Challenges of Governance in Karachi;Additional ownership by the Federation in terms of projects and resources can help restore past glory of Karachi”. The Secretary has admired team PICSS by saying that PICSS is doing a great job in holding this session. He was with the view that routine handling of the issues Karachi is facing, would probably not work. We need to adopt more pragmatic, more practical, more objective and more honest approach in handling the situation. While highlighting the issues he said there is issue of governance, lack of infrastructure, growing population and Kachi Abadi and Slum areas are the base of the issues of Karachi. Furthermore, he mentioned that resource distribution is also a big issue as we still don’t know where to spend and how to spend. Providing the solutions he said the confidence of the private sector should be build up, youth should be involved and community participation is very important. He concluded his address stressing upon the importance of Karachi that this is not Karachi this is Pakistan as stable Karachi is essential for stability of the country.
To share the point of view of business communityMr.Zubair Tufail, President FPCCI has joined the event. His speech was based on the theme “City Governance, Management of Economic Zones, Ports and Airports; Concerns of Business Community and way forward”. Mr. Tufail said Karachi is the heart of Pakistan or Karachi is mini Pakistan. It was a very peaceful city till 80s and the difficult days have started in the end of 80s and then the situation went worst after 9/11.We have witness the rise of terrorism in different forms in all the country also in Karachi. However the peace of Karachi was restored after the Rangers Operation during the year of 2014 and 2015 and Operation Zarb e Azb. He conveyed his thanks to the Sindh Rangers and Pakistan Army on behalf of business community and said that almost 90% of the terrorist activities have been stopped due to Rangers operation however 10% of these groups are hiding. He said that these group should not regain strength and disturb the peace of Karachi. He also highlighted other issues of Karachi such is lack of water, energy crisis for industries and garbage cleaning system and asked the administration to pay attention to these issues to restore the lost peace and glory of Karachi. He ended his talk with the message of hope that,“we should be patient and hopeful as good days are coming for Karachi and Pakistan”.
Brigadier (r) Muhammad Abuzar, Ex-Commander ANF has delivered his speech on “Narco Trade in the region and related Challenges to Karachi: An Assessment of Federal Responsibilities”. He started his talk saying that, problem of Narcotics in Karachi is not born in Karachi but it comes from outside the Karachi. Have gave statistics of narcotic consumption, money involved in Narco trafficking and also various ways of trafficking of narcotics. Brigadier Abuzar has also highlighted effects of this Narco trade on Karachi that includes generation of black money which later can be spent on terrorist activities. He assessed federal responsibilities while mentioning that there is no exclusive drug addiction treatment center in public sector in Sindh. At the end of his speech he provided some solutions saying that government should take measures to reduce the poppy cultivation and Narco export. And this can be done asa joint effort through the platform of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). He said there should be annual meeting of National Anti-Narcotics Council which is headed by Prime Minister and includes all Provincial Chief Ministers. He said there should be greater border control with Afghanistan, capacity building of ANF while increasing the strength of ANF, providing additional electronic equipment and executive control over other departments of Inter Agencies Task Force (IATF) on matters relating to narcotics.
Guest of Honor Major General Muhammad Saeed,DG Rangers delivered his key note address on “Three years of Karachi Operation vis-a-vis efforts by other elements of National Power: An Appraisal and way forward”. The General started his talk while giving a brief history of the city of Karachi.He said anywhere in the world the problem of conflict, corruption or unrest is not unusual. There are very few states who had the capacity to resolve the issue. The conflict of Karachi is very complex. It is a mixture of a bit of socio political issue, a bit of insurgency, sectarian conflict, pure crime, political criminality, gang war, organized crime, drug war ,mafia war and it keeps on expanding. And when-ever the problem escalated we save Pakistan and joint hand weather its federal government, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Rangers or Sindh Police and we had great success. While giving the reasons behind the issue the General said that there is perception that issue of Karachi is due to poverty and unequal distribution of resources but he differ to this idea and in his opinion the basis of Karachi issue is ethnic and linguistic divides and due to failure of city to manage forums and dialogues.
Describing the role of Rangers in Karachi he said that Sindh Rangers came into a position in 1985 and in September 2013 legal framework was change while giving certain powers to Rangers and this legal framework made a difference. Under that framework Rangers’ mandate was to go after a target killer, terrorist and criminal. The General made a comparison of security situation before and after Rangers’ presence and mentioned few of statistics about incidents of kidnapping, target killing and terrorist attacks which have shown a grave change in the security situation, lessening the terrorist/ insurgency activities.
The General said, “People ask as how long Rangers will stay in Karachi and my answer is as long as problem is here, but this is not the solution”. He said state should come and secure the resources because resources are exploitable and if the resources are exploited the problem may again rise. People has to decide to give the next generation a society where people are tolerant, law obedient and where people can live with even polarized and wrong interpretation of views about religion. At the end the General made a statement of hope, “Karachi will go back to the days of 60s and 70s”.
Concluding and key note address was delivered by Chief Guest of the event Mr. Muhammad Zubair Umar,Governor Sindh.Governor appreciated PICSS efforts in organizing such forum for debate to find out solutions to the issues of Karachi.He said when we discuss Karachi we should also celebrate because we are living in a totally different environment as compare to Karachi before September 2013.The decision of starting operation in Karachi was a bold and difficult decision and was agreed upon by all the parties and stake holders. But operation is not first option, we have to change the narratives, the Governor said.
Stressing upon the importance of Karachi Mr. Umar said, Karachi is financial hub of Pakistan and Pakistan’s economy depends on Karachi’s economy. Mentioning federal efforts to gain Karachi’s glory back the Governor said,Karachi’s growth depends on vibrant private sector and we are trying to build up public private partnership. For this we have to promote economic agenda to take Karachi global while holding investment conferences and promoting healthy activities. And in order to achieve it we need a stable law and order situation and strong energy sector.
The Chief Guest asked to have an optimist approach saying, “Let us celebrate that Karachi has come around for good”.