ISLAMABAD: During the on-going debate in the Senate over the Sindh Rangers chief’s disclosures regarding the law and order situation in Karachi, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar focused on three questions on Wednesday.
Babar asked the Minister of State for Interior Balighur Rehman, if it was true that the Rangers were called in Karachi to prevent the commission of terrorist acts and other scheduled offences in notified areas under Article 147 of the constitution and Section 4 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
Secondly, if crimes such as violation of the building code, corruption in developmental projects and the issues in poor governance were included in the scheduled offences whose responsibility was given to the Rangers. Thirdly, Babar questioned, had some establishment departments asked for thousands of acres of land from the Sindh government, and did the provincial authority say no to them?
The fourth one, he said, was most relevant because it raised a question of nexus between demand for thousands of acres of land and what was happening now in Karachi. “I do not say that there is a nexus, but I do say that it raises a serious question of nexus,” said the senator, who is also the spokesperson to ex-president Asif Zardari.
Senator Babar said that the Rangers raid on the Karachi Building Control Authority and other offices on June 15 amounted to taking over the functions of the provincial government. Referring to earlier statements about governance and corruption made by the Rangers, he asked, if it was a part of a larger pattern? He further said a plan seems to be afoot to dislodge the provincial government and let the security-dominated apex committees and Rangers take over the province.
In his reply, Balighur Rehman said Rangers were deputed in Sindh at the behest of the provincial government.
“Rangers cannot operate on its own, the apex committee is headed by the chief minister and if there is a complaint, then he has the control to address it,” Rehman said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2015.