KARACHI: A day after the issue of Pakistan Rangers stay in Sindh was raised by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain, Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad in a meeting with the paramilitary force chief threw his weight behind the Rangers, while the chief minister, too, contradicted the reports of differences between the Centre and Sindh on the issue.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad in a meeting with Rangers director general Major General Bilal Akbar on Wednesday said: “The entire nation is united and stands by the law enforcement agencies for peace”.
The statement issued by Governor House did not carry details of the meeting, but it suggested that the two discussed mainly the performance of the paramilitary force in Karachi in particular and across the province in general.
“The Ranger DG informed the governor about the efforts of the Rangers for bringing back a lasting peace and improving law and order in the province,” said the Governor House statement. The governor called for “indiscriminate action of Rangers against terrorists and criminals that would help develop the confidence of people in the paramilitary force”.
He also called for a coordinated strategy to make actions against criminals and terrorists transparent and address people’s complaints while showing confidence that the entire nation was united to back law enforcement agencies for a lasting peace in the province and the country.
Terming the reports of tension and differences between the Sindh government and the federation ‘baseless’ and ‘contrary to the facts’, the chief minister said in fact “there is very good working relationship among the Sindh government, federal government, Army and the Rangers.”
The chief minister said the services of the Rangers for law and order in Sindh in general and Karachi in particular specifically against terrorism, targeted killing, extortion and kidnapping for ransom could not be forgotten.
Meanwhile, the details acquired by Dawn of the Rangers operation since its launch in September 2013 in Karachi suggested that the paramilitary force seemed more than ever aggressive in chasing suspects and engaging them in ‘encounters’. The Rangers killed 364 ‘criminals’ and arrested more than 200 others in the ‘encounters’.
According to the recently compiled figures, since September 5, 2013 when the federal government decided to launch the Rangers-led ‘targeted-operation’ in Karachi with the provincial government consent, the paramilitary force has conducted some 5,795 operations and apprehended 10,353 suspects that ranged from street criminals to terrorists.
“During these operations, the Rangers recovered some 7,312 weapons of different caliber,” said a source citing details of the figures. “Among the arrested persons, 826 are terrorists, 334 hit men, 296 extortionists and 82 are kidnappers. Of the arrested suspects, 4,950 have already been handed over to the police for further investigation and legal process,” the source added.
Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2015