To say that the Sindh Rangers are heavy-handed in their operations in Karachi would not be an exaggeration – after all, the paramilitary force regularly plays up its tough and no-holds-barred approach as the only solution to the metropolitan city’s mess. While extended arrests and evidence of violence meted out to detainees raised concerns of human rights violations, nobody really believed that the Rangers carried out a systematic policy of willfully ignoring human rights edicts – until they tried to prove their absolute innocence.

Unfortunately, the old edict, “Never believe something until it has been officially denied,” comes to mind.

The fact that the Rangers presented a report from an unverifiable Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) is hardly surprising – the tactic is popular. Yet the fact that this move hurt rather than helped the Rangers image-building exercise should prove cause for reflection within those cadres that devised it.

Fortunately, the Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights is a competent body, and not likely to be fooled by a report by an NGO that has no physical presence in Pakistan. Even a layman would grow suspicious of an organisation whose website is inactive, is based in Hong Kong, has no previous history of noted work, and exonerates the parties it is investigating with more confidence than it deserves to express, given its non-existent record.

The Rangers’ deception is embarrassing, and in the words of Senator Farhatullah Babar, “This move by Sindh Rangers has not only damaged its own credibility but also of the Pakistan Army.”

Yet the implication of this attempted deception goes beyond mere embarrassment. If the Rangers are submitting fake reports from fake institutes, what else are they not telling the truth about? It brings into question the whole narrative of the paramilitary force – from the curbing of “financial terrorism” to the actions against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Everything falls under suspicion, and the counterclaims of those the Rangers have been most insistent on pursuing, will be taken more seriously.

Perhaps the most important aspect here is the devotion to the law exhibited by those who apparently are on a mission to enforce it. Is Karachi falling victim to one kind of lawlessness in an effort to curb another kind?

Judging by this forged report; apparently so.