LAHORE: A marathon meeting was held between Punjab Rangers and the Counter Terrorism Department on Friday for outlining the procedure for joint search and intelligence-based operations.
The meeting was continuing till the filing of this report. No official statement on the operations’ terms of reference was issued.
However, a Rangers’ officer told The Express Tribune that the ISPR might tweet about the decision late night or tomorrow.
Earlier in the day, Rangers officials manned pickets at all entry and exit points around Lahore, starting checking all vehicles entering or leaving the metropolis, a Rangers official said.
He said that Rangers had also been deputed in Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahwalpur and Taunsa, Muzzafargarh districts.
An inside source privy to the meeting said that the operations would be led by the CTD and Punjab Rangers would assist them. Rangers, he said, had been called in on the request of the CTD (the provincial Government). The operations would mainly focus on banned outfits.
The decision to deploy Rangers was taken in a meeting of the apex committee after some sensitive intelligence was shared with the participants.
The meeting was held two days after the Mall Road blast. Subsequently, the Punjab government had written to the federal government for deputing Rangers for a period between 60 and 90 days to assist the provincial officials in the fight against terrorism.
More than 2,000 Rangers personnel would be deployed in Punjab.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif presided over a meeting on Friday to review the law and order situation in the province.
During the meeting, the chief minister stressed the need for national cohesion and said that enemy was conspiring to spread unrest in the country and we should thwart its nefarious designs.
He said the extraordinary situation demanded extraordinary measures and law-enforcement agencies should work with more determination for protecting people’s life and property.
Ordering to accelerate the operation against terrorists and their facilitators, Shehbaz Sharif said that action against such elements should be taken everywhere without any discrimination.
Localities with Afghan population should be thoroughly checked and a vigilant eye be kept on all suspicious elements, he said.
During the meeting, the report on the Defence incident was also presented before the chief minister.
According to the report, this incident occurred because of a cylinder blast and there was no evidence of any explosive material was found from the crime scene. Provincial Ministers Rana Sanaullah, Lt-Col (retd) Muhammad Ayub, the Chief Secretary, Inspector-General of Police, Secretary Home and other officials concerned attended the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2017.