KARACHI: Newly appointed Law Minister Ziaul Hasan Lanjar said that the Rangers have been given powers under Article 147 of the Constitution but cannot arrest anyone without the support of the police.
Speaking to the media on Monday outside the Sindh Assembly, he said, "The Rangers will be given the powers and the chief minister, under Sections 4 and 5, can give these powers but the paramilitary force cannot take action alone."
Meanwhile, during the session, which was chaired by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, Transport Minister Nasir Shah said lawmakers should avoid creating controversy on the Rangers' powers issue. "We appreciate the Rangers' services in the province and the government is considering giving powers to the paramilitary force like it has been done in Punjab," he said, adding that in Punjab, the Rangers have to assist the police and cannot take action or conduct raids by themselves.
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Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly, Khawaja Izharul Hassan, said the Rangers must be given powers throughout Sindh. "Not only in Karachi - there is a terrible law and order situation throughout Sindh," he said, adding that Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja is an honest officer but the government wants to remove him.
Talking about Noreen Jabbar Laghari, the missing medical student who was recently arrested in Lahore and is said to be affiliated with the Islamic State, Hassan said, "It is the responsibility of all the stakeholders, including religious scholars, to disseminate the message of tolerance, peace and love." He added that terrorism is a problem confronted by all the citizens and there is need to devise a joint strategy to combat it.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement MPA Kamran Akhtar moved a call attention notice and inquired about the Rs200 million released to Pakistan Peoples Party leader Farooq H Naek, who is also a close aide of PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari.
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"Why were millions of rupees released by the government to Farooq H Naek and other lawyers?" he asked. The MPA added that government prosecutors also draw huge salaries, questioning why the services of these lawyers are needed. "Public money is being minted here. We will not tolerate this," he said, adding that the government used the services of Naek in 24 cases from 2013 to 2016.
Lanjar said that there was a shortage of public prosecutors, which is why the government hired lawyers to plead various cases.