Action against Karachi violence: Govt pleads ignorance on Orangi operation

Published: January 21, 2011

Interior, home ministers say they did not know about the operation; Rangers’ officials scoff at assertions.

KARACHI: 

In a remarkable turn of events, the government’s top civilian security chiefs on Thursday declared ignorance regarding the massive operation launched by paramilitary forces in Karachi’s troubled Orangi Town.

The operation, on its first day on Monday, saw over 400 people arrested in pre-dawn raids by some 700 personnel of the Pakistan Rangers Sindh.

Somewhat taken aback by the authorities’ supposed ignorance, a Rangers brigadier said the paramilitary unit comes under the Ministry of Interior and no operation could be launched without the ministry’s knowledge. “Everyone, including the home ministry is consulted and obviously involved,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Sindh home minister Zulfikar Mirza, the province’s security chief, told the Sindh Assembly that he was not consulted on the Orangi operation. In fact, he also added that even the chief minister and Capital City Police Office were not aware of the raids.

While that assertion left some lawmakers baffled, a subsequent statement by federal security chief, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, bordered extraordinary.

“I agree completely with what Dr Zulfiqar Mirza said because neither I, nor the authorities, know anything about the action to which he is referring,” Malik told the media.

The interior minister said that these things could have happened after the police and Rangers were given the power to follow-up on any information that they have.

“I was in the UAE when this action took place and we will not allow such an incident to happen again. We will make sure that in any operation carried out by the police or Rangers, the authorities will remain subservient to the Sindh authorities, chief minister and the home minister,” Malik said.

About the target killings in the city, Malik said the killers were planning to target senior leadership of the MQM, ANP and PPP. “There were three major incidents that were avoided, one such incident involved an improvised device plus firing in the Sindh Assembly. I personally called the MPs and directed them on how to manage the  situation,” he said, adding that they planned to attack some journalists.

“It doesn’t matter if they are from South Africa or Bajaur or Balochistan, they all have the same agenda: to break down Pakistan, to destabilise us,” he said.

Amidst all the confusion, a Pakistan Rangers major said the process is pretty straightforward. The provincial government sends a request to the Ministry of Interior, which then directs Rangers to go ‘in aid’ of the police. “Also, if prior orders are given to Rangers by the ministry that it must act whenever called in by the provincial government, then it follows those directives whenever such a request is sent,” he said.

The major said the current game being played was nothing but ‘political point scoring.’ He said they should have known that Rangers would act impartially in an operation and would pick up any criminal no matter what political affiliation they have. “Their vote bank gets affected by such operations, so it’s very convenient that they’re putting the blame on us,” he said.

Meanwhile, SP Orangi Khurram Warid told The Express Tribune that the number of suspects held in the on-going operation had exceeded 100. He said he wasn’t acting on his own. “Obviously, the police officers are carrying out the operation after being given orders by the CCPO and PPO,” he said. He added that the operation was expected to end by 31st January.

Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court also commented on the volatile situation in Karachi. During a hearing of the Hajj scam case, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Ifthikar Muhammad Chaudhry said the violence in the city had claimed the lives of at least 75 people in the past month alone.

The court questioned why key posts in the city were being awarded on a contractual basis, including that of Sindh’s Inspector General.

Meanwhile, the Sindh government has decided to convene an all-parties conference on January 26 to tackle outbreaks of violence in the city.

PPP and MQM leaders met at the CM House in Karachi and decided to from a sub-committee to discuss and resolve issues between the two parties. The members of the committee will be nominated soon.

The meeting was jointly chaired by Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan and Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah.

WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY HAFIZ TUNIO

Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st,  2011.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Danish
    Jan 20, 2011 - 2:36PM

    if you are not important enough to be taken into confidence about something so important, why don’t you resign? Recommend

  • Raheel ur Rehman
    Jan 20, 2011 - 2:58PM

    We are not getting this democrasy. No body know’s about the Operation and even dnt know about the operation held by the rangers.Recommend

  • MAD
    Jan 20, 2011 - 3:31PM

    Mirza Sb that is a bit hard to believe seeing that it was your department which issued the notification giving Rangers those powers in the first place.Recommend

  • Asad
    Jan 20, 2011 - 3:42PM

    Marshal Law? Recommend

  • Shan Nasir
    Jan 20, 2011 - 3:52PM

    Operation was needed in Karachi. Anyone who says it was not ‘necessary’ — is a part of it.Recommend

  • arshad
    Jan 20, 2011 - 5:25PM

    Totally agree with Danish.Recommend

  • Jan 20, 2011 - 6:09PM

    Only military action is last solution of the problem
    created by some unknown factions.

    But it is true that
    there is no foreign forces or elements in the city.

    Karachi is commercial hub, so every party want to hold it,
    there are chances of more carnage .Recommend

  • Mohammad
    Jan 20, 2011 - 6:35PM

    You mean Martial Law ?(may be just a typo!)Recommend

  • Sabir Shah Hoti
    Jan 20, 2011 - 7:58PM

    What is going on…….. how it is possible that provicial interior minister was not taken into confidence over karachi operation.i think this is the part a game plying by the ferdral govt to making fool the masses. Recommend

  • Saad Durrani
    Jan 21, 2011 - 2:25AM

    #ohreallyRecommend

  • Jan 21, 2011 - 5:46AM

    SOME home minister you are, Mirza Sahib.Recommend

  • ijaz
    Jan 21, 2011 - 7:51AM

    This is totally baseless comments by ZM. If he doesn’t know he should resign.Recommend

  • Jan 21, 2011 - 8:07AM

    The land grabbers, illegal occupants of property, drug and gun dealers must be sorted out. This policy of harboring criminals and not revealing their faces and names is a farce. We are in the 21st century and now is the time to change and act.

    If the Interior Ministry; Federal and Provincial, deny knowledge of an operation, then they should resign immediately and theGoP should give the job to a person who will own up to his responsibility. The PPP is fast becoming a ‘comedy of errors’. This is not the legacy left behind by the founder of the party.

    Salams for 2011 and ever. Recommend

  • M Bilal
    Jan 21, 2011 - 9:35AM

    Oh man is PPP full of such **? Either they think common man is absolute fool or may be their coalition partners whom they are trying to appease by these statements are morons that will come into such statements of theirs.Recommend

  • RizwanTKhan
    Jan 21, 2011 - 10:05AM

    LOL. PPP is running the country and all law enforcing agencies work under them and yet they make this claim? Either they are too fool or they think the people are.Recommend

  • Arsalan
    Jan 21, 2011 - 10:17AM

    congrats to all of pakistan, including the so-called poor class.
    when will people realise that this concept of democracy will only yield these kinds of results if these fools keep voting for the same people.
    everyone sympathises with the ‘poor class’, but it is their vote that keeps electing these fools into power. i dont even understand why smart people call on democracy when obviously the masses are highly uneducated and cannot make the right decisions for themselves. they have no clue what governance is.
    what system is this?? everyone the world over knows that army and rangers, call them whatever, are defined by their code of following orders. they believe in the chain of command. the fact that our elected political representatives are playing to the tune of their vote bank is quiet funny. only an uneducated fool would believe their rant. Recommend

  • Sandy
    Jan 21, 2011 - 10:21AM

    Nonsense !!! Every body is claiming as innocent What is wrong if life of a common citizen is saved by this operation All are scoring politically just sake of some ethnic votes Recommend

  • Tahir Masood
    Jan 21, 2011 - 12:44PM

    The ignorance shown regarding the massive operation launched by paramilitary forces in Karachi’s troubled Orangi Town by Dr Zulfiqar Mirza , Sindh home minister and FederalInterior Minister Abdul Rehman Malik, bordered extraordinary and left some lawmakers baffled on one side and on other side it has emitted a very bad impression on the masses who are being ruled by these ministers.
    thire own diffrences which is making karachi a hell.

    police and lawenforcers should be given fair cahnce to work within the Act of pakistan which as senior pakistani citizen, i can assure that they are capable delivering it fairly .

    The fact remains that both of them making statements in assemblies and giving challenge to masses under the cover of heavy scurity around at the cost of taxpayers and doing nothing for pakistan and pakistanis as appeared from their statments is not at all justified,
    Therefore if they have any partrotisim they should resign imeediately for such act with the masses of karachi and not providing any service to the nation. Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Jan 21, 2011 - 2:32PM

    what a sad tale, there seems killers are being protected by the rulers for sack of prolonging rule—– divide and rule now turn-out to be “let the people killed & rule”.Recommend

  • Jan 22, 2011 - 3:58AM

    Dr Wasi, a resident of Hamid Square in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Block-3, had been working at Lyari General Hospital for the past 15 years. His family said that his murder was a case of target killing and the perpetrators wanted to target an Urdu-speaking doctor. “He never discussed any fears with me but he used to be worried,” said Dr Wasi’s brother, Rehan Wasi. “A lot of times, he hinted in passing that he wanted to have himself transferred from the Lyari hospital.”Recommend

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