ISLAMABAD: A Senate committee was informed on Monday that Rangers had conducted 3,696 raids during the ongoing operation in Karachi and arrested 6,835 suspects and seized 5,214 weapons.

Col Tahir Mehmood of Sindh Rangers briefed the Senate standing committee on interior on the law and order situation in Karachi and claimed that incidents of kidnapping for ransom, target and sectarian killings and other crimes had fallen significantly in the city over the past year.

He said Rangers had conducted 372 raids on Mutta­hida Qaumi Movement’s offices and arrested 560 of its workers, besides recovering 241 weapons. Eighteen raids on the Awami National Party’s offices led to the arrest of 40 workers and recovery of 21 weapons.

As many as 539 people were arrested and 591 weapons seized in 396 raids on the People’s Amn Committee’s offices. Rangers conducted 403 raids on various TTP set-ups, arresting 760 terrorists and recovering 619 weapons.

MQM, ANP senators accuse some security officials of working in connivance with criminals

A total of 4,936 suspects were arrested and 3,742 weapons seized in 2,506 raids targeting other banned outfits and criminal groups.

The Rangers official’s briefing drew a barrage of accusations from two members of the committee from Karachi.

They alleged that some Rangers officials were working in connivance with criminals and terrorists.

The committee’s chairman Senator Talah Mehmood said lawbreakers should be treated as criminals and not political workers.

“If you name any party then it is also your responsibility to provide details about it and seek their help to at least determine if the accused are actually party workers,” he told the Rangers official.

TRUST DEFICIT: Senator Shahi Syed of the ANP said there was a serious trust deficit between the Rangers and the general public.

“I know people and their children who were targeted after they lodged complaints against terrorists. How did the killers come to know about such persons,” he wondered.

He said Rangers listed all Pakhtuns arrested on charges of criminal activities as ANP workers.

“Why is the identity of all these so-called members of political or terror outfits kept secret.

“At least after all legal formalities and charges, one has the right to know who the person is and what is his crime,” he added.

Shahi Syed alleged that some agencies were using criminals to serve their purpose. “And after the work is done they are even killed; later we are told that MQM killed the Pakhtun boy.”

Senator Tahir Mashhadi of the MQM alleged that certain elements in Rangers were defaming the army. He disputed a claim that the crime rate had come down, observing that the figures were low because very few people reported incidents of crime.

“It seems that you people are facilitating groups like Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. They kill one to two Shias daily and even claim responsibility for that,” he said, adding: “What is the net output of the operation in one year.”

The committee was also briefed on the Sept 24 raid by Rangers on MQM’s sector office in Karachi.

It was informed that firing on a Rangers patrol had led to the raid and arrest of 23 workers.

“They included three target killers and eight absconders. Twelve of them were later released,” Col Tahir Mehmood said.

The MQM senator asked the Rangers official where did the bullet fired by the so-called target killers hit. “Did the fire hit any personnel? No. Any mark on the vehicle? None. Anybody injured? No one. Tell me why the workers continued their meeting even after shots were fired from their office; they could have escaped before the raid,” he said.

Mr Mashhadi asked: “Why is it that when there are raids on PPP, MQM and ANP offices you ransack the place, destroy TV and computers; do you think that weapons are hidden inside LCDs.”

The committee decided to hold its next meeting in Karachi.

Meanwhile, one official belonging to the forces told media that the presentation was classified because it contained details of various factions in MQM involved in killing each other and even workers of other parties.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2014