No change in Rangers’ assistance to police, says govt

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Monday termed the impression created by the media that it had withdrawn duties and functions of the Rangers as ‘legally’ and ‘factually’ incorrect.

“An impression has been created in a section of print and electronic media that the government of Sindh has withdrawn duties and functions of Rangers in the province. That impression is legally and factually incorrect,” said a press note issued by the provincial home ministry.

It said the legal position was that the assistance of Pakistan Rangers had been requisitioned in aid of civil administration from the federal government under Article 147 of the Constitution for a period of 12 months.

Last time, the statement said, the Rangers’ assistance had been extended from July 20, 2016 to July 19, 2017. In this connection, it added, the Sindh government had specified the role of Pakistan Rangers [Sindh] by way of a notification issued on August 1, 2016, which included setting up of pickets, patrolling on roads, protecting high-value establishments, providing back-up support to Sindh police during religious events, large public gatherings and protection of foreign dignitaries and the president and the prime minister visiting Karachi and other such functions.

Rangers say they no longer possess policing powers

Moreover, the home ministry said, the Rangers were mandated to have their own independent intelligence network and carry out intelligence-based operations in accordance with the law.

“It may be appreciated that legally Pakistan Rangers may still carry out [their] mandated role.

“The government of Sindh expresses its firm resolve to curb crime in the province by employing all available means under the law,” the statement concluded.

The paramilitary force, too, came up with a statement on Monday saying that they continued to assist the provincial authorities as “backup support” in case of any “extreme emergency”.

No more policing powers

However, the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh made it clear that its troops were no longer engaged in search, arrest and independent operations after the special policing powers last awarded to the paramilitary force under Section 4(3)(I) of the ATA, 1997 in January 2017 ended on April 15.

The paramilitary force spokesperson in a brief statement to the media stated that the Rangers were present in Karachi under Article 147 of the Constitution. Referring to a notification issued by the Sindh government on August 1, 2016, the official said the Rangers could not carry out any operation ‘independently’. However, as per code of the provincial government, the force would provide ‘backup support’ to the police or the district administration when called in case of extreme emergency, operation or need.

Furthermore, providing security to vital installations was also included in notified responsibility of the paramilitary force.

“This is also being clarified that the powers pertaining to search, arrest … granted to the Pakistan Rangers Sindh under Section 4 (3)(I) of ATA [Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997] has ended on April 15,” concluded the Rangers’ statement.

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