LAHORE: Rangers troops being deployed in Punjab to assist a crackdown on extremists will be empowered to independently conduct intelligence-based operations (IBOs) in the province, The Express Tribune has learned.
The Punjab government, following the decision of the province’s apex committee, has requested the interior ministry to lend around 2,000 Rangers for the next 60 to 90 days to assist counter-terror operations in the province.
Law and order: Govt vows support for police, Rangers
According to well-placed sources, the Rangers will conduct their operations based mainly on information passed on to the force by military intelligence sources. The paramilitary troops may decide not to share this information with police officials to prevent it from being leaked, the sources said. While they’re deployed in Punjab, the Rangers will have the power to detain or arrest anyone and will lodge FIRs with the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), the sources added.
The Rangers will mainly focus on operations in South Punjab – particularly in Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan, two districts which the police have found tough to operate in – the sources said. They said another apex committee meeting will be held in the coming days to streamline the anti-terror offensive in the Punjab.
When contacted, Punjab Home Secretary Azam Suleiman said he did not know the specifics of the planned Rangers operation in the province. However, he confirmed that the paramilitary troops will be empowered to operate on their own and lodge FIRs with CTD.
Law and order huddle
The Punjab Cabinet Committee on Peace met on Tuesday to review law and order in the province. The meeting, chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, censured the recent wave of terror in the country and offered condolences for the victims.
Rangers kill seven terrorists in Karachi encounter
Chief Minister Shehbaz vowed to always stand with those who had to sacrifice their lives for the nation’s future, and stressed the need for unity in this critical phase.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2017.