RAWALPINDI: A day after the Interior Ministry granted police powers to Rangers in Punjab, the paramilitary force launched its first full combing operation in Rawalpindi on Thursday.
During the search operation, at least 40 suspects, including 13 Afghan nationals, were detained while guns and narcotics were also recovered.
With Rangers Sector in-charge Brigadier Hammad and Colonel Ammanullah supervising, the paramilitary force they searched localities in and around Dhoke Hassu, Dhoke Matkial, Dhoke Ratta Amral, Gali Loharan, and IJP Road, conducting a door-to-door search. The operation began early at around 7am and continued till noon.
This was the first operation by Rangers in the garrison city after grant of new powers in Punjab and commencement of the new counterterrorism operation, codenamed Raddul Fassad, across the country.
The areas that were combed by the personnel of Rangers and the police were thickly populated. The residents of these areas are predominantly Pashtun, Hazarawal, and Kashmiri.
The law enforcers detained as many as 40 suspected men, including 13 Afghan nationals. The arrested men were later shifted to relevant police stations. Rangers also recovered six AK-47 assault rifles, seven pistols, and 300 bullets from the suspects.
Later, Rangers released 34 of the suspects who had been detained. Cases were filed against six men for possessing illicit arms or had no record of tenancy.
The Rangers are reportedly set to continue combing operations in sensitive areas surrounding Rawalpindi in days to come.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2017.