KARACHI: Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar and Rangers Director-General Maj Gen Bilal Akbar pictured during the former’s visit to the Rangers headquarters on Thursday.—Online
KARACHI: Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar and Rangers Director-General Maj Gen Bilal Akbar pictured during the former’s visit to the Rangers headquarters on Thursday.—Online

KARACHI: A day after the Sindh government had accused the Pakistan Rangers of ‘acting beyond their authority’ in Karachi and asked its chief to ‘limit’ movement of his men in line with the defined rules, Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar ‘appreciated efforts’ of the paramilitary force in ‘bringing back normalcy to the city’.

With relations between the Sindh government and Pakistan Rangers already straining fast over a couple of months, the recent statements and moves from the two sides have created quite a stir in the political scenario.

According to a brief statement issued by the Pakistan Rangers Sindh on Thursday, Lt Gen Mukhtar paid tribute to the Rangers soldiers who “laid down their lives to bring peace and stability in the area of responsibility”. He was briefed in detail on the ongoing operation in the city.

Although not mentioned in the statement, photographs of the visit released by the Rangers spokesman showed that all senior officers of the paramilitary force were present on the occasion.

“Corps Commander appreciated Rangers efforts in bringing back normalcy to the city,” the statement said. “Corps Commander also attended a detailed briefing about law and order situation, ongoing operation in the city and also discussed other professional matters.”

First it was PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari who warned the military leadership that if they did not stop ‘character assassination of his party’, he would expose the misdeeds of many generals. Then came a letter from Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to Sindh Rangers director general Major General Bilal Akbar asking him to ‘limit the movement’ of the paramilitary force in line with their defined mandate.

The chief minister called the recent ‘visit’ of the Rangers officials of the Sindh Building Control Authority a ‘raid’ and a move against the spirit of their role already set by the provincial home department.

There is no direct reaction from the security establishment to Mr Zardari’s remarks, but events taking place and moves made one after the other show that things are also not different at this side and nothing is going to be given up amid growing tension between the two sides.

“He [Corps Commander Lt General Mukhtar] was briefed about security measures taken by Sindh Rangers for the holy month of Ramazan,” said the Rangers statement.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2015

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