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Traders protest against ‘limited powers’ given to Rangers

Traders protest against ‘limited powers’ given to Rangers

KARACHI: Policemen virtually outnumbered the traders who converged on a road leading to the Sindh Assembly building to lodge their protest on Thursday against the ‘limited powers’ given to Rangers.

The security gates at the corner of the road leading to the Sindh Assembly building from both the sides had been locked while the agitating traders were allowed to stage a sit-in at the Arts Council roundabout.

A large number of policemen in riot gear were deployed in and outside the assembly building while a water cannon was there to disperse the crowd in an emergency situation.

Traffic was diverted to an alternative road due to the protest at the Arts Council roundabout. Similarly, traffic coming from the other part of the assembly building was also affected. The diversions resulted in snarl-ups that spilled over into several linking arteries.

The protesting traders were holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans eulogising the Rangers personnel for ‘their efforts that normalised the law and order situation in Karachi’.

The protesters chanted slogans against the Sindh government and criticised it for curtailing the special policing powers earlier given to the Rangers. They said the Rangers-led operation had brought a huge relief to the people whose life and property was in danger previously.

Leaders of the community said they would demand that the army be called in if the policing powers earlier given to the Rangers were not restored.

“Such powers to Rangers are the need of the hour, because they have helped a lot in bringing back social and industrial peace in Karachi,” said a protesting leader.

The protest was organised a day after the Sindh Assembly adopted a resolution, allowing the Rangers to stay in Karachi for another 12 months with the mandate to take action against targeted killings, extortion, kidnapping for ransom, and sectarian murders.

According to the resolution, the Rangers will not raid any government office without permission from the Sindh government.

Lawmakers belonging to the opposition parties had protested and criticised the government over the resolution.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2015

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