Days after Rangers’ personnel were caught on camera shooting and killing an unarmed 19-year-old boy in Karachi, the Sindh government has announced that it will be drastically slashing the funding of the controversial paramilitary force, which has been deputed in the province for some 17 years now.
It has also decided to introduce a high degree of oversight by the provincial government in the utilisation of the remaining funds given to the paramilitary force.
Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah said on Saturday that the government has cut the Rangers’ budget and stopped internal security duty allowance for Rangers’ and Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel in its budget. The per-month allowance given to each paramilitary unit member was equal, and in addition to, a month’s basic pay.
Addressing a post budget briefing along with Adviser to the Chief Minister on Planning and Development Dr Kaisar Bengali at a local hotel, the finance minister said that not only has the Rangers budget been decreased, but the provincial government has also withdrawn their drawing and disbursement power to utilise the budget.
“Now, a separate allocation for Rangers and FC has been provided in the home department budget, which will ensure the home department’s oversight and supervision in terms of the functioning of both the forces,” he said.
The finance minister said that the government has allocated Rs360 million for the Rangers in financial year 2011-12 against Rs1 billion in the outgoing year.
Meanwhile, the federal government has earmarked around Rs6.5 billion for the forces in upcoming year. “Rangers, which is a federal force, was called on to maintain law and order in the province. In the past, we have spent hefty amounts on the force and cannot afford to give them more allowances and funds,” he said.
The Rangers have already been the target of national ire, following the events of last Wednesday in Karachi.
Personnel of the Rangers shot and killed a boy, who was alleged to be robbing people at a park in Karachi’s Clifton area. It later transpired that the gun that he was using may have been a toy gun. The scene, which was caught on camera, showed the boy pleading for his life before being shot, sent shockwaves through the country, and has resulted in a number of inquires, including a suo motu notice by the Supreme Court. In the first hearing of the case on Friday, the SC ordered the removal of the director general of the Sindh Rangers and the inspector general of the Sindh police – an order that is set to be contested by the Sindh government.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2011.