Saturday Jul 17, 2021
KARACHI: The Sindh cabinet on the recommendation of the inspector general of police has approved an amendment in Rule 26 of Police Rules 1934 with a view to stop police officers from making any arrests merely on account of the registration of a First Information Report (FIR).
The amendment was approved in a meeting of the cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah at the Chief Minister House on Saturday.
The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, advisors, the chief secretary, the chairperson for the Planning and Development department and other concerned officers.
The amendment means police officers will have to collect credible evidence of involvement of the suspects in the crime and seek approval from the senior police officer before making any arrests.
Police officers told Geo News that pressure is exerted to arrest the nominees in an FIR and false cases are registered for the purpose.
"This amendment will guard against the arrest of innocent people and will also reduce the burden on the courts," the police officials said.
They said that a court ruling also exists which states that an arrest need not be made in every case when an initial probe is underway.
With the amendment, even the police will not be able to abuse their powers, senior police officials said.
The senior officers said that currently, police "sections" are being formed, after which the rule will come into effect.
"A proposal has also been made to make some cases bailable," they said.
Other important decisions were also made in the cabinet meeting which include the handing over of four Karachi Municipal Corporation hospitals to the Health Department, the procurement of retro-reflective number plates for vehicles, a reduction in cotton fee collected by the Excise and Taxation Department, and a bill for the protection of medical workers.
Regarding the outlay of the development budget for 2021-22, the cabinet was told that it has been pitched at Rs329.02 billion which includes Rs222.50 billion for the provincial Annual Development Programme, Rs71.16 billion for Foreign Project Assistance and Rs5.36 billion for federal PSDP grants.
The chief minister said that in the first quarter of the new financial year, 603 schemes worth Rs14.098 billion would be completed, as he directed the cabinet members to personally monitor their timely execution.
He added that 269 schemes of Rs19.572 billion schemes would be completed in the second quarter of the financial year and 162 schemes of Rs42.561 billion would be completed by the end of the third quarter.
Shah said that 1,669 new schemes for Rs83.716 billion had already been launched, therefore the department must focus on them so they could be completed on time.
The provincial cabinet, on the request of the KMC, approved a proposal for the Sindh Health Department to take over four healthcare facilities of the Karachi Municipal Corporation — Gizri Maternity Hospital, Sobhraj Maternity Hospital, Gazdarabad General Hospital, and District South and Landhi Medical Complex in District Korangi — along with their staff, for their efficient operation.
The KMC spends around Rs800 million on the operation of these health facilities but due to financial issues, it could not operate them properly, the meeting was told.
The KMC even could not pay salaries to the employees in time, the meeting was further informed.
Shah said that the provincial government would not take Rs800 million from KMC for running its hospitals and his government would instead give an additional Rs603.158 million to the Health Department to operate the KMC hospitals and to provide the best possible health facilities to the people of the area.
The cabinet also directed the Local Government Department to select more local bodies’ health facilities, particularly those of district councils, so that they too could be given to the Health Department for their proper operation.
The Agriculture Department told the cabinet that the cotton fee charged by the Excise and Taxation Department was increased from Rs10 to Rs20 per 100 kg in 2019. It was pointed out that the Punjab government was charging a cotton fee of Rs 10 per 100 kg.
The cabinet after detailed discussion, reduced the cotton fee from Rs20 to Rs 10 per 100 kg.
The Excise and Taxation Department also gave a detailed briefing about retro-reflective number plates for all kinds of vehicles to be manufactured by National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC).
The cabinet, after thorough discussion and deliberation, approved a proposal of the Excise Department to negotiate with NRTC for the procurement of retro-reflective number plates for all types of vehicles.
The chief minister directed the Excise Department to expedite the matter so that security number plates could be issued to the vehicles in the province.
The provincial cabinet, in order to provide protection to and prohibit violence against healthcare service providers and to prevent damage or loss to property in healthcare service facilities, passed a bill titled Sindh Healthcare Service Providers and Facilities (Prevention of Violence and Damage of Property) Bill 2021.
The Bill states that no person or heirs of a patient would be allowed to torture, harass or mishandle a medical officer or relevant hospital staff under the pretext of providing wrong treatment or negligence in respect their patient.