RANGERS GIVEN POLICE POWERS ONLY FOR 90 DAYS
Islamabad, Sep 15: The federal government has decided not to give police powers to Rangers in Karachi on a permanent basis and to retain the prevailing arrangement under which the paramilitary force enjoys special powers of search and arrest for three months.
“It has been decided that Rangers will not have police powers on a permanent basis,” President’s Spokesman Farhatullah Babar told Dawn on Wednesday.
But Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said she was not aware of the decision taken by the government in this regard.
A senior official in the interior ministry, who did not want to be named, endorsed the statement of president’s spokesman and said Rangers would not be given permanent police powers.
According to prevailing laws, he said, the government could not give special powers to Rangers for more than 90 days. For that a legislation would be required from parliament to amend the laws.
Director General Rangers Sindh Major General Ijaz Chaudhry demanded on Sept 6 permanent search and arrest powers to end killings in Karachi and said the decline in incidents of target killing was temporary and criminals would again try to disrupt peace in the port city.
He was of the view that “If the powers of police remained with the Rangers they would manage to eliminate extremists in Karachi”.
According to Interior Minister Rehman Malik, about 49 target killers and another 653 suspects were apprehended and 167 weapons were seized in the 985 raids from Aug 23 to Sept 4 in Karachi.
The Rangers claim to have nabbed nearly 236 suspects and 327 weapons in operations in about 30 areas.
Sources in the interior ministry claimed that the Rangers were now carrying out an operation with less political interference than earlier.
On Wednesday, the interior minister revealed that of the 49 arrested target killers, seven belonged to People’s Aman Committee formed by the ruling Pakistan People’s Party.
After offering special prayers for the victims of floods and dengue disease, on the call of President Asif Ali Zardari, at Faisal Mosque, the minister said nobody was earlier ready to believe that every political party in Sindh had militant wings.
“I have evidence that all political parties were involved in the unrest in Karachi and I will present the proof before a parliamentary committee on national security,” the minister said.
He said the current operation of the Rangers would become futile without eliminating the militant wings of political parties. “A law should be enacted barring all political parties from having criminals or militant wings in their ranks,” he said.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 15 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 15 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 16 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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