LAHORE: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said here on Wednesday the recent robbery and robbery-cum-murder incidents couldn’t be described as height of lawlessness in a populated city such as Lahore.
“In a city having a 15 million population, zero crime cannot be achieved every day,” he said.
He said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had directed the police to arrest within 72 hours those involved in the recent robbery incidents which, in his view, had been blown up in the media. In the same breath, he admitted that a gang of robbers was active in the city and assured people that it would be smashed sooner than later.
The law minister was speaking at a news conference ahead of the Punjab Assembly session beginning on Thursday. The session will continue for 10 days or so and see new legislation as well as laying of new bills. The House will also hold debate on law and order, agriculture policy, irrigation as well as education and health sectors.
As for the robbery incidents, he dispelled the impression that Dolphin Force had failed though it’s not covering the whole city. He said fresh recruitment was under way and the force would also be deployed in other big cities such as Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan.
“The Dolphin Force has helped reduce the street crime by 35pc,” he claimed.
Answering a question about the progress in the Safe City Project, the law minister said most advanced CCTV cameras would be installed in Lahore by May next year, which would identify criminals besides tracking down the movement of criminals after any incident.
He said the project would be replicated in six other cities by December next year at a cost of Rs50 billion. The cost of Lahore project would be around Rs12 billion, he said.
About the local government system, the law minister said the corporation’s mayor and district councils’ chairmen would hopefully be in office by December this year.
Referring to a trail of protests by the PTI spanning over three years, Mr Sanaullah lambasted Imran Khan for “taking the nation hostage”. “Imran Khan eventually got embarrassed after giving the Islamabad lockdown call,” he said.
He also criticised Mr Khan for launching a campaign against corruption with the likes of Jahangir Khan Tareen and Abdul Aleem Khan.
The law minister affronted Sheikh Rasheed for his repeated ‘predictions’ about collapse of the government and making mockery of the state institutions.
Answering an allegation that he had illegally occupied a plot in Faisalabad, the law minister said the owners of a private channel were trying to blackmail him. “An inquiry into the issue is being conducted,” he said.