WEB DESK: The rift between the Centre and government of Sindh over the issue of granting Rangers the policing powers for entire province has deepened.
The Sindh government says it has done its part by granting extension to the Rangers powers for operation in six districts of Karachi and also agreed that the paramilitary force could remain there for another year. But that’s not what the Centre wants. The summary prepared by the provincial authorities on the issue has been rejected by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, who has talked of “other options”.
What those options could be he did not spell out, but according to some these possibly include imposition of Governor’s Rule on Sindh. And in return, Chaudhry Nisar has earned the accusation of flaunting an ‘attitude (that) could sabotage the national consensus on the war on terror’. Both sides tend to interpret the constitutional provision under which the province can seek the federal help in maintaining law and order to justify their conflicting stands on the issue of extending, or not, the Rangers’ policing powers to the entire province of Sindh.
What is in store for the future of this tussle it is hard to predict but, possibly, we may know something about the way forward from this fork on the road next week when Army Chief General Raheel Sharif meets the prime minister, as a follow-up of the meeting on internal security chaired by the latter this past Monday. In the wake of prime minister’s rather prolonged absence from the country and inordinate delay in granting extension to the Rangers’ operation, the internal security in Sindh has been under threat of losing its gains.
Not only is there noticeable rise in the street crime, the law-enforcing personnel have also come under murderous attacks. And the trend is not confined to metropolitan Karachi; the Rangers were attacked in the interior Sindh also, at Larkana, as a search operation was in progress against a politically influential person.
If that operation had triggered the change of guard in Sindh there is a variety of differing views, but by the end of the day there was a new provincial government headed by Syed Murad Ali Shah. And in Islamabad Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting which reviewed the state of internal security and implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP).
The said meeting, attended by all high-level concerned officials, minus the Army Chief, has expressed determination to preserve and protect the gains of NAP and the Zarb-e-Azb operation. The army high command is believed to be anxious to ensure the tempo of counter terrorism, be it imported or indigenous, doesn’t relent. What form that resolve acquires however depends upon another such a high-level review meeting in the Capital.
Actually, the said review process was set in motion by General Sharif in his meeting with the prime minister last week, and the latter has apprised President Mamnoon Hussain of the development also. The prime minister is determined to make Pakistan “secure for all ethnicities and religious beliefs…and will enable every citizen to reap the benefits of a secure, stable and prosperous Pakistan”.
It appears the Centre would send the provincial summary – the province says it is not summary but only a letter informing the interior ministry of its action – back to the Sindh government asking it to equip the Rangers with policing powers for the entire province. Things should not have come to such a sorry pass. The two sides should sit together and hammer out a solution acceptable to both. Of course there is a debate if the law and order is to be established by the Rangers alone then why to have the police.
And then, how long the paramilitary can be entrusted with such a task as the Rangers have undertaken is a question that also needs serious consideration and response. But, from the debate, something is still missing and that is what has caused the rift: is it a question of jurisdiction of policing powers or a pal of a powerful personality?
Source: Business Recorder