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Extension of Rangers Powers

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After ninety days preventive detention, Co-Chairman PPP Asif Zardari’s close friend and confidante former Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain was presented by the Rangers before the Anti-Terrorist Court in Karachi. He prayed before the ATC’s administrative judge Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto to privately speak to him in his chambers without the presence of representatives of law enforcement agencies and security forces. But the Honorable judge rejected his request, directing him to say what he wanted to in the court.

He was under investigation of Ranger since August, 26 over allegations of corruption, charges of embezzlement and using misappropriated funds in terrorist acts and facilitating terrorists at his private hospital. He was investigated under 11-EEEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, and a joint interrogation team was formed after getting approval from the Provincial Government. Dr. Asim was said to have informed the JIT that he committed all the crimes of the three political leaders of a certain political party and head of another political party in Sindh.

The Rangers had registered a terrorism-related case against Dr Asim Hussain at the North Nazimabad Police Station for the alleged acts. Dr Asim Hussain told the court “My life is in danger. They torture me, beat me up. I am being tortured so I repeat what they want me to say like a parrot,” Denying all the charges, Dr Asim told the court that a false FIR had been lodged against him, and a severe case is being concocted merely on the statement of a medical superintendent at his hospital. He also alleged that the police was taking directions from “somewhere else”.

The Sindh Government intends to cover the corruption of PPP Co-Chairman Mr. Zardari. In fact, no genuine democracy has ever existed in Pakistan. Here it is just a vehicle to grab power, and then to maximum plunder the nation leaving the people at the mercy of corrupt bureaucracy and the politicians followed by hunger and poverty. Reducing democracy to elections has its consequences. Real Dictatorship naturally arises out of such type of democracy, not out of Military uniform.

A democracy means to rule by the choice of the majority. Is Pakistan really being governed by its people? While the majority of our so-called elected representatives are billionaires, close to 70% majority of our population, still survive on less than one dollar per day. Our bureaucracy is also inept and corrupt whose only aim is to earn more and more money by hook or by crook. The majority of people from civil society and business community is demanding an extension to retain the Rangers in Karachi to control law and order situation, but Sindh Government has tabled the matter before Sindh Assembly for the first time just as a blackmailing tactics.

Everybody knows the present peace in Karachi is due to the efforts of Rangers whereas the Sindh government had miserably failed to bring peace back in Karachi. There was constant target killing, Bhatta Mafia was extremely active, extortionists were sending gifts of bullets and grenades to the citizens and traders, land grabbing was at climax and ransom kidnapping was very common. Ignoring all the things the Sindh Government has adopted a blackmailing attitude of the powers of Rangers to save its corruption mafia in the direction of Mr. Zardari and to achieve this nefarious design Sindh Government is misusing the powers of Sindh Assembly as a weapon against the Rangers and lowering their morale ignoring their glorious efforts to bring back the peace. The people of Karachi are standing shoulder to shoulder with the Rangers.

However, the Sindh Government has very limited option i.e. to send back the Rangers. At least three political parties, who have made a greater alliance against the role of Rangers and protection of corruption known to everyone, have accelerated their efforts to get the operation under the National Action Plan stopped and for this to happen Sindh Government is being used to target Rangers, NAB, and FIA. One thing is very clear that the operation cannot be rolled back. If the Sindh Government decides so, the Federal Government might consider imposing the Governor rule that is less expected. For the apex committee, it is a situation of ‘now or never’. At this crucial stage when law enforcement agencies are going to unearth links of the alleged terrorists, the Sindh Government is continually creating hindrances. Report of JIT is certainly based on solid evidence and facts, and the nation can see a lot of activity on this front in near future if unnecessary hindrances are not created.

When Karachi operation was launched, it was decided by all the parties that the operation would be across the board. The PPP leadership is not inclined to accept any action against its people involved in corruption and terrorist financing. According to Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, Sindh government is jeopardizing the Karachi operation “for the sake of one man”. The resolution regarding key issue of Rangers’ powers could not be concluded even today. It seems democracy and political dialogue has failed. It is time for some serious action, be it military or otherwise.

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