Altaf demands ‘public referendum’ on Rangers operation

Altaf says referendum is crucial to gauge public support for operation

Web Desk July 08, 2015
File photo of MQM chief Altaf Hussain.

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain on Wednesday demanded that a ‘public referendum’ be held on the ongoing Rangers operation in Karachi, Express News reported.

Speaking to the media over the phone from his residence in London, Altaf said that it is crucial that a referendum be held to take public sentiments into account.

Read: No more extensions? Sindh to reconsider policing powers for Rangers

The MQM chief advised that a five-member committee be constituted, comprising Supreme Court and High Court judges, to organise the referendum.

Altaf’s statements come after the recent debacle the federal and Sindh governments seem to be involved in after the provincial chief executive hinted at withdrawing policing powers from the paramilitary Rangers force, which has been deployed in Karachi since the 90s.

On Tuesday, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah claimed that under the 18th constitutional amendment, the provincial government was bound to seek the legislative assembly’s approval before allowing Rangers to continue working under extended powers.

The statement comes in the wake of recent raids by Rangers at offices of different provincial government departments that have upset the political stakeholders. Four months ago, the paramilitary force was given special powers to detain suspects for 90 days. The permission expires today (Wednesday).

Read: MQM’s administrative wing fuels militancy, says Rangers

“There is a bottleneck in giving them extension in special powers to deal with terrorism,” he told reporters.

Following this, the MQM announced staging sit-ins outside the CM House against the ‘atrocities’ of Rangers.

In his address to party office-bearers on Tuesday, the MQM leader called upon the chief minister and the parliamentarians to table a bill in the Sindh Assembly for sending Rangers back to the borders.

He lamented that neither the chief minister nor the judiciary had taken notice of the Rangers’ allegations. “If the courts were independent, then action against Rangers for arresting men illegally would have been taken,” he said.

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