Close on the heels of the powerful military expressing concern at the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi, President Asif Ali Zardari has directed authorities to restore peace in Pakistan’s largest city and to take action against militants and sectarian elements.

Chairing a meeting to review the law and order situation in Karachi and Sindh province, Zardari reiterated that elections will be held on time after the government completes its tenure on March 16.

“Militants and extremists and the sectarian elements supporting them will not be allowed to subvert the electoral process by creating a law and order situation,” he said.

Zardari asked the Sindh government and security agencies to take “stern action” to ensure the safety of lives and property of citizens.

He called on political forces and stakeholders to work with law enforcing agencies in Karachi and play an “active role to restore peace and stability to the metropolis”.

Criminals should be brought to book regardless of any political affiliations, Zardari told the meeting that he chaired in Karachi yesterday.

During a meeting with Zardari in Islamabad on Thursday, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani conveyed the security establishment’s concerns about rapidly deteriorating law and order across the country and called for urgent steps to deal with the situation.

On Wednesday, Kayani had visited Karachi to assess the situation in the city where sectarian attacks on the minority Shia sect have added a new dimension to continuing violence that has claimed scores of lives since last year.

A series of devastating terror attacks against Shias in Quetta and Karachi have killed nearly 250 people since the beginning of the year.

(This article was published on March 9, 2013)
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