Controversy again on Rangers’ powers

AFTER every three months, the issue of extension of Rangers’ powers in Sindh emerges as a major bone of contention between Centre and Sindh government as the latter has always been seen hesitant in this regard or doing it half-heartedly for reasons known to everybody. As policing powers of Rangers stand expired in the province, there are reports that provincial government this time is considering to curtail Rangers’ powers after which the paramilitary force will only assist police action against terrorists and criminals.
These intentions of Sindh government drew criticism from Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday who stated that federal government would consider alternative legal options if Sindh government did not extend Rangers’ powers in public interest. This controversy and that too on the issue of security in fact is not in the interest of entire country as such matters warrant greater harmony and cooperation between Centre and provincial governments in order to meet multiple challenges. When we look at the performance of Rangers in Karachi operation, not only people of the provincial metropolis but the entire country would agree that Rangers’ succeeded to bring normalcy to the city to a great extent. In fact there is no comparison between Karachi police, which is highly politicised, and paramilitary force and improvement that it has brought by controlling situation in Karachi during the last two to three years. Therefore, curtailing the powers of Rangers at this juncture when it is chasing out remnant criminal and terrorist elements will undermine the achievements made so far by the force. As also stated by interior minister, it will also tantamount to compromising the security of the people. We expect that Sindh government will keep security related matters above political considerations and support, supplement efforts that bring peace and security for people of Karachi. Recently we saw Rangers powers in Punjab province being extended without any dillydallying on provincial government request. Same kind of approach is required from Sindh government to take the operation to its logical conclusion.