ISLAMABAD: The ruling party is still considering whether it should deploy Rangers in Punjab, as in Sindh, to carry out an operation against hardcore criminals and banned outfits based in the southern districts of the province.

The military establishment, in its assessment, sources in the provincial capital Lahore as well as the federal capital say, has recommended a Rangers-led operation in Punjab.

The issue came up for discussion first at the provincial apex committee meeting and has now landed before the Prime Minister’s Office. The security establishment thinks that Punjab police lack the training and the equipment to face terrorists, sources say, which was why the assignment must be handed over to Rangers.

However, the Shahbaz Sharif-led provincial government is of the view that it can handle the task through its Counter-Terrorism Department and the Elite Force, but this would require special weaponry and support from the military.

The provincial authorities are of the view that if provided with the proper equipment, the Elite Force could deliver the required results.

At the high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday, which was also attended by the Punjab CM and the Lahore corps commander, it was suggested by the army leadership that Rangers could be used for an operation in the province if the government wanted.

Talking to Dawn, a PML-N office-bearer close to the prime minister said that the districts where an operation could be planned include Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur and D.G. Khan. These districts are known for being home to and breeding grounds for militants and banned organisations.

Sources in the ruling party said the Punjab government would try its best to make do with its own Elite Force instead of calling in the Rangers. This, he said, would reflect poorly on the provincial government. Of course, he said, if Rangers come to Punjab, they will have the same powers they were exercising in Karachi.

“The prevailing security situation in Punjab was discussed during Wednesday’s meeting and now the decision lies with the PM; whether to seek assistance from Rangers in Punjab or not,” another source privy to the meeting told Dawn. The military establishment believed that to take the National Action Plan to its logical conclusion, Rangers should be used in the province, he said.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah was not available for comment, despite repeated attempts.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2016

Opinion

Editorial

China’s concerns
23 Jun, 2024

China’s concerns

Pakistan has no option but to neutralise militant threat to Chinese projects, as well as address its business and political stability concerns.
War drums
23 Jun, 2024

War drums

If it is foolish enough to launch another war in Lebanon, Tel Aviv will be solely responsible for setting the Middle East on fire.
Balochistan budget
23 Jun, 2024

Balochistan budget

BALOCHISTAN’S Rs955.6bn budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 makes many pledges to the poor citizens of Pakistan’s...
Another lynching
Updated 22 Jun, 2024

Another lynching

The chilling alternative to not doing anything — which appears to be the state’s preferred option — is the advent of mob rule.
Tax & representation
22 Jun, 2024

Tax & representation

THE taxation measures outlined in the budget for the incoming fiscal year have triggered a lot of concern among ...
Life of the party?
22 Jun, 2024

Life of the party?

THE launch of Awaam Pakistan, a party led by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former finance minister...