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With 30-day police powers, Rangers see no time frame for Karachi operation

With 30-day police powers, Rangers see no time frame for Karachi operation

KARACHI: A day after the Sindh government extended the police powers of the paramilitary force for a mere 30 days rather than the usual four months, the Rangers director general took to the social media on Friday to make it abundantly clear that there is no time frame to complete the Karachi operation.

“Karachi Law Enforcement Operation will continue till its logical conclusion is achieved, in sha Allah,” stated Rangers DG Major General Bilal Akbar in a tweet.

A Rangers spokesman confirmed to Dawn that the twitter account @Bilalak80 was the genuine account of the Rangers director general.

While the tweet does not specifically say that he is referring to the Rangers-led Karachi operation, it is reasonable to assume that Maj Gen Akbar is speaking on behalf of the paramilitary force he heads in Sindh and is not alluding to the operations conducted by the Sindh police, Federal Investigation Agency and National Accountability Bureau.

In the carefully worded tweet, the use of the expression “logical conclusion” appears to be a prompt riposte to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement — bitterly and openly opposed to the paramilitary force — as well as to the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government that extended the police powers of the Rangers for just a month and that too in Karachi division only.

The beleaguered PPP government, headed by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, also decided to take the issue of the Rangers stay and police powers to the Sindh assembly.

However, PPP leader Senator Saeed Ghani told Dawn there was nothing unusual about the Rangers chief’s tweet. “It [the tweet] doesn’t mention that the action has to be taken only by the Rangers,” he said, cautiously.

Recently, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah in a letter written to the Rangers director general had accused the paramilitary force of “acting beyond their authority and mandate”.

The chief minister also recently said that the Rangers were given the mandate to take action against terrorism, targeted killing, kidnapping for ransom and extortion, while financial crimes and corruption did not come under the purview of the paramilitary force.

In the early hours of Thursday, the Sindh government, through a notification issued by the home department, extended the special powers entrusted to Pakistan Rangers, Sindh under clause (i) of sub-section (3) of Section 4 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 within Karachi division for a period of 30 days with effect from July 8, 2015.

Meanwhile, the Rangers chief tweet attracted admirers on the social media. It was retweeted 340 times, and received 531 favourite clicks just hours after it appeared.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2015

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