HYDERABAD: Adviser on Information to Sindh Chief Minister, Moula Bux Chandio, on Saturday said the Sindh government was not against the Rangers-led Karachi operation, adding that taking the issue of Rangers’ powers to the assembly did not mean the government wanted to reverse the paramilitary force’s gains.

The senior PPP leader expressed hope that the issue of extending Rangers’ powers in Sindh will be resolved by Monday after consultations between the paramilitary force and the provincial government.

“We are just implementing the law, why would anyone have problems with that?” asked the PPP leader, defending his government's stance of seeking Sindh Assmebly's approval on the matter.

Also read: Sindh links extension of Rangers’ powers to assembly approval.

Talking to reporters in Hyberabad, Chandio said the Sindh government had complete confidence in Rangers, army and other national institutions.

“We appreciate Rangers and the gains they have made in the security operation are undeniable,” Chandio said, adding that the Sindh government is not a hurdle in the extension of Rangers’ special powers in the province.

“It was the PPP-led Sindh government that called in Rangers to the province in the first place,” he said.

Chandio also took to task Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali, who had earlier criticised the Sindh government for delaying the notification to extend the time period of Rangers’ special powers in the province.

“Chaudhry Nisar is looking after his party’s interests only,” remarked the PPP leader.

The standoff

Earlier reports had hinted at differences between the federal and Sindh governments over extending the paramilitary force's mandate.

Last week, Nisar expressed regret that Sindh had not made a decision on the issue of extending Rangers’ powers over the past two weeks.

“They should have done it by Saturday,” he had remarked, insisting that Rangers could not be left in the province without legal cover and would be pulled out if no extension was given. The decision, he noted, ultimately lay with the provincial government.

Special policing powers assigned to Rangers in the province, which have in the past been extended every few months via orders from the provincial government, had expired on Sunday, Dec 6, 2015, at midnight.

This is not the first time that Rangers' stay in the province has come under question.

In August this year, the Sindh government delayed the notification of policing powers extension until the eleventh hour – a situation that had sent ripples in Islamabad where the PML-N-led federal government also announced their support for extension in Rangers stay in Karachi.

Assisting the police in Karachi since 1989 when the Pakistan Peoples Party government in the centre at the time had called in the Rangers and the Frontier Constabulary to curb rising political violence in the metropolis, the paramilitary force started enjoying policing powers a few years ago amid increasing number of killings on sectarian, political and ethnic grounds in the city.

Karachi security operation

Rangers is currently spearheading an ‘operation’ against criminal elements in Karachi, which was initiated back in September 2013 after the federal cabinet empowered the force to lead a targeted advance with the support of police against criminals already identified by federal military and civilian agencies for their alleged involvement in targeted killings, kidnappings for ransom, extortion and terrorism in Karachi.

A high-level apex committee meeting chaired by the Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif on May 14, 2015 decided to implement effective policing and surveillance in the "vast suburbs of Karachi", to prevent what the military spokesperson said were "sneaking terrorist attacks".

Amid resentment and criticism from certain political circles over the ‘Karachi operation’, the military establishment in August said that there would be no let-up in actions by law enforcement agencies “to ensure a peaceful and terror-free Karachi”.

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