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Law and order: Lawmakers demand more power for Rangers for Karachi operation

Pakistan on 10 September 2013
Location : Karachi, Pakistan | Source : Express Tribune. Image Source: Express Tribune

During a debate on the law and order situation in Karachi at a Sindh Assembly session on Monday, lawmakers suggested that more powers should be given to Rangers to curb the deteriorating law and order situation.

At the same time, the police force should not be demoralised as it could work better than the paramilitary force if depoliticised. MPAs belonging to different political parties were of the unanimous opinion that targeted operation must be carried out without any political influence or party victimisation.

The session, which was presided over by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, was called on the requisition of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). MQM deputy parliamentary leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan said that they had been pressing the case of Karachi violence for the last five years, but the police, Rangers and other officials have not been paying heed.

Unfortunately, these same people, he said, had raised objections when our party demanded army deployment to ensure peace in Karachi, where police and Rangers have failed because both the forces are divided and have no unity in command and coordination.  “Now, we hold these people responsible for Karachi’s situation because they were opposing the decision,” he said. “When the IG with his 250 policemen cannot enter the no-go areas of Karachi, how can a common citizen have access to them?”

“A special cabinet meeting had made the decision for targeted operation through Rangers but who will ensure and monitor the Rangers activity and transparency in the whole exercise,” he remarked.

Pakistan Muslim League- Functional’s (PML-F) Nusrat Seher Abbasi said even after 22 years, Rangers have not yielded any results through their actions in Karachi. “No one should be given a free-hand. The credibility of Rangers was questionable in the past. A strict monitoring system should be put in place to monitor their functions,” she said. “The apex court, in its report, mentioned the presence of militant wings in the Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami National Party and the MQM. These parties should dismantle these wings, otherwise the situation will not improve,” Abbasi added.

“There is no need for army. The operation should be conducted by Rangers and police,” said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Irfanullah Marwat.

“Rangers should be given more powers, but the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supports the role of police in curbing crimes,” said PTI’s Khuram Sher Zaman.  “Let us depoliticise the police and get results. There is dire need for legislation to improve our institutions,” said PTI’s Syed Hafizuddin.

“How can peace prevail if our political parties are supporting the criminals in their ranks,” said Manzoor Wasan.  “I do not target any one party, but time has come for all to give up their backing of criminals.” “The Sindh government has allocated Rs140 billion for police and law-enforcement agencies in the last five years, but the situation is deteriorating with each passing day.  Evidence can be seen from the fact that Karachi has now been declared as the most dangerous city of the world,” said MQM’s Heer Ismail Soho.

“Please come up with concrete efforts to hold the relevant officials accountable,” said PML-F’s Mehtab Akbar Rashdi. She said that targeted operation might not yield positive results, because of its “more publicity and less action”. “We have been hearing in the media for the last two months about this action. This will lead criminals to go into hiding.”

“I think a metropolitan police should be launched in Karachi like other Western countries. They should be given more powers and privileges,” suggested deputy-speaker Shehla Raza.

MQM’s Syed Sardar Ahmed said, “There is a dire need for one chain of command, otherwise we cannot control the prevailing situation.”

Subzwari withdraws  privilege motion
Sindh Assembly’s leader of the opposition Faisal Subzwari withdrew his privilege motion following the information minister Sharjeel Memon’s assurance that the provincial government was not willing to arrest any parliamentarian.

Memon further assured him that the list of criminals allegedly prepared by the police and containing the names of MQM MPAs was “forged”.

“Faisal Subzwari has shown me the list, which does not have the logo of any department. The government disowns it and I request the opposition leader not to press this issue,” said Memon, while addressing the speaker Agha Siraj Durrani.

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