KARACHI: The federal government on Wednesday hinted at a broad-based security strategy for Sindh by taking paramilitary Rangers and Frontier Constabulary on board against the backdrop of the recent violent incidents that saw killings of policemen and tribesmen in the upper part of the province.
The sketchy plan was shared by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed minutes after he landed here on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had assigned him the task of formulating a strategy.
The minister made it clear that he was not here to intervene in the affairs of Sindh saying that law and order was solely a provincial subject and he would take the chief minister into confidence regarding his recent moves.
Says law & order is a provincial subject; to meet Murad today
However, he said in the same breath that any major decision on the subject was the discretionary right of the prime minister.
“The decision would only be of Imran Khan,” he replied to a query about the possible outcome of his visit. “I am here only to meet security agencies that include Rangers and the FC. I am also seeing Murad Ali Shah in the morning [today]. I would meet all of them but be clear — I am not here to interfere in anyone’s affairs.”
He said that he was in Sindh only to meet people, listen to them, prepare a report and present it to PM Khan so that “he would decide then”.
Rejects chances of governor’s rule
He denied any direct role of the federal government in restoring law and order in rural Sindh, but also ruled out the possibility that the centre would stay aloof in such a “bloodbath-like situation in the province”.
The interior minister was in the city just a day after the PM directed him to visit Sindh and set a strategy to sort out issues related to law and order after holding meetings with the law enforcement agencies.
The PM came up with the directives after being briefed by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar, who on Tuesday had held detailed talks with the PM and shared their concerns with him about administrative mismanagement and fast deteriorating law and order in the province.
Two policemen, along with others, were killed in an operation in the katcha area of Shikarpur district while seven policemen, including two SHOs, were injured on Sunday.
Earlier this month, nine people were killed when armed men, said to be belonging to Jagirani and Sabzoi tribes, opened indiscriminate fire on members of Chachar community in a village in the Kandhkot area.
Today’s [Thursday] engagements of the interior minister that include meeting the chief minister are likely to clear the centre’s role in the future strategy for restoration of law and order in rural Sindh.
“There is no governor’s rule [in the offing],” said Sheikh Rashid while replying to a question about the options being under review by the centre for the province.
“I only have the authority over federal security agencies. I can only talk to them and offer their support. We only want peace and stability in Sindh and the centre would play its role to achieve this target,” he said.
Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2021