Anticipating an early end to Karachi operation, the army has cautioned the government that the city could once again descend into lawlessness if special powers for Rangers were withdrawn. – File Photo

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was briefed on Wednesday on the overall security situation in Karachi, an ISPR press release said.

The COAS, who visited the Corps Headquarters here, was also briefed on the flood situation in Sindh and the rescue and relief efforts being undertaken by the army.

A delegation of notables from the business community of Karachi also called on Gen Kayani and apprised him of their concern over effects of the law and order situation on business and industrial activities in the city.

Corps Commander Lieutenant General Muhammad Zahir ul Islam also attended the meeting.

Anticipating an early end to Karachi operation, the army has cautioned the government that the city could once again descend into lawlessness if special powers for Rangers were withdrawn.

“Progress in Karachi is reversible and operation being conducted by Rangers must continue,” a military official told Dawn on Wednesday.

He was speaking after Gen Kayani attended a briefing in Karachi on the ongoing Rangers’ operation against target killers, extortionists and terrorist groups.

The government has already said it will not extend the operation beyond the mandated period. It appeared from conversation with some military officers, who attended the briefing, that the government could end the operation prematurely and again hand over the responsibility of maintaining peace in the city to police, citing improvement in situation.

The army is, however, not ready to trust the city’s police, which is considered to be highly politicised and lacking the capacity to effectively act against all terrorists.

The DG Rangers of Sindh, Maj Gen Ejaz Chaudhry, had said earlier that his force needed special powers for an extended period to eliminate all terrorists and criminals from Karachi.

A large number of suspected target killers and other criminals have been arrested and weapons seized during the Rangers’ operation which has been going on for almost a month now.

“The government is facing pressure from within to end the operation,” a source said.

Citing examples of political pressures, the source said an effort was recently made to stop Maj Gen Chaudhry from holding press conferences on the situation in Karachi and appearing before the Supreme Court, which was holding suo motu hearing on the city situation.

Some elements within the government, the source said, were not comfortable with the independent character of the Rangers’ operation in Karachi.

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