Rangers to fight Punjab militants

The federal government on Wednesday formally granted powers to Rangers to carry out operations in Punjab under the Anti-Terrorism Act for 60 days. 

A senior official of the Ministry of Interior said that the Ministry of Interior gave a formal approval on the request of the apex committee of Punjab. The new powers have been given to Rangers under the Anti-Terrorism Act for a period of 60 days.

The request for deployment of Rangers in Punjab was made subsequent to a series of terror attacks across the country, including a terror attack in Lahore on February 13.

He said the decision to this effect was taken in a meeting presided over by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

The meeting was attended by secretary Ministry of Interior, national security advisor, chief secretary Punjab, home secretary Punjab, national security advisor, inspector general of police (IGP) Punjab and other senior officials.

He said that under the new powers, the Rangers will assist police and other law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in operations against terrorists in Punjab.

According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Interior, “pursuant to the request of the provincial government of Punjab under sub-section (2) of section 4 of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, the federal government in exercise of powers under clause (i) of sub-section-3 of section 4 of Anti- Terrorism Act, 1997 is pleased to authorise the deployment of five wings of Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) to discharge such function as specified in section 5 of the act against terrorist acts in areas specified by the government of Punjab.

This notification shall come into force with the immediate effect and shall remain intact for a period of 60 days.” Sources said the Rangers will conduct joint operations with the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab. Rangers will mainly focus on operations in southern Punjab including Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan, they added.

-Business Recorder