ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that at least 713 terrorists, 118 kidnappers and 517 extortionists have been arrested and target killings decreased by around 43 percent so far in Karachi operation.

The minister in a detailed briefing to the National Assembly on Thursday said that in the ongoing operation in Karachi against crime and terrorism as many as 630 wanted criminals have been apprehended so far. He said that the murder incidents have lessened by 37 percent while acts of terror decreased by at least 6.7 percent. He repeated that operation in Karachi is not against any political party but against terrorists and criminals.

Nisar said that along with 713 terrorists, 58,603 suspects have been arrested during the operation so far. Of this number, at least 731 were suspected of murder, while 517 were suspected of involvement in extortion cases.

The minister told the NA that 14,253 arms were recovered, and that the number of fugitives increased by 9.4pc during the operation. He said there had been a significant decrease in crime following the Karachi operation. He emphasised the need for security agencies to provide security training to their employees, and urged them to conduct a security clearance of all their employees. He said training including weapons training should be provided at least once a year.

“Police, civil armed forces are ready to provide training free of cost.”

He also spoke of the need to compensate employees of security agencies fairly. “Security is a very important problem for Pakistan, and clients spending so much money should be provided with good service,” he said.

Nisar also highlighted the need to implement policies that allowed security agencies and civilians to “supplement and complement” each other.

He said that there should be standardisation among policies followed by the provincial and federal government regarding policies concerning non-governmental organisations (NGOs), arms and security agencies.

Nisar said that an effective policy is being implemented to stop those coming to Pakistan for illegal activities. He said that steps have been taken to take action against those immigrants involved in illegal activities in the country. He said a policy regarding security agencies will be announced within two months under which the security agencies will be bound to provide services to its clients according to the agreement. All the security agencies will have to clear the security of its employees and they will have to conduct retraining of their personnel.

He said that provincial governments will also be consulted in formulating the policy regarding security agencies to bring standardisation in the policy.

Nisar said that currently there are 79 passport offices working in the country which are less than required. He said the government is to double the number of passport offices and these will be established on merit wherever required.

He said under a policy investigations are being carried out against the beggars in Islamabad. He said those found needy are being handed over to NGOs under an arrangement for financial help. He said that hundreds of professional beggars have been arrested in Islamabad and investigations are being conducted that who are behind them.

The Interior Minister said that beggars found stealing are caught ‘respectfully’ by police. “We determine if they are needy. If it is the case, we hand them over to NGOs.”

“We give these people a first warning, after which they are detained in a police station, and then they are sent to jail. We also try to determine who backs them; we have also taken action against them.”

“We want to create a policy in all cities for all those who are needy, there should be arrangements for food and shelter, which can be done easily through collaboration with NGOs. “

To a question, Minister of State for Interior Muhammad Balighur Rehman told the House that the government is making efforts for the safety of journalists. He said that for this purpose, a committee has been formed under which the Ministries of Interior and Information are working together. He said that the government is encouraging media houses to prepare their code of conduct. He also stressed the need for code of conduct with reference of security.

The minister said that the government has also offered media houses for capacity building of journalists. He said the government is fully committed to uphold freedom of expression in the country and the Press and media enjoy absolute freedom. He pointed out that as a result of government’s seriousness to combat terrorism, the law and order situation has improved and overall crimes have decreased.

Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana M Afzal Khan told the House during question hour that a list of 129 industrial units has been prepared for privatisation. He said it is the manifesto and policy of the PML-N that running the business and industrial units is not the work of the government. He said the government is also restructuring different units for privatisation.

Rana Afzal Khan told the House that a comprehensive law titled “The Corporate Rehabilitation Bill” has been drafted by Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and is under process of enactment. The law will encompass all aspects and would address the issues of rehabilitation of closed, sick industrial and SME units in a much better and effective manner. He said all out efforts are underway to get all the legal formalities completed and to get the said law passed by the Parliament as soon as possible.

Nisar said certain Embassies were patronising brothels in Islamabad. He said big names were involved in the flesh business and immoral activities and if the House allowed him, he could produce a list about the people allegedly involved in the business.

“Dozens of women involved in illegal and immoral activities have been taken into custody in Islamabad. Foreigners land in the country and obtain passports and identity cards before indulging in such activities. Foreigner women have been living in Islamabad and Rawalpindi illegally for the last 20 years,” he said.

He told the House that millions of foreign nationals were settled in Pakistan illegally and policy was being worked out to take action against them.