Karachi - Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Information Maula Bux Chandio said on Wednesday that some politicians were trying to create a controversy over extension in Rangers’ powers.

“The Sindh government has always appreciated the joint role of police and Rangers in restoring the law and order situation in Karachi,” he said, adding that the issue of extending Rangers’ special powers should not be misinterpreted.

He clarified there was no dispute between Rangers and the Sindh government on the subject.

“The issue will hopefully be resolved amicably,” he said and added, “It is purely a state function and also is directly linked with peace in Karachi.”

He added that the people of Sindh were now feeling relaxed due to the restoration of peace in Karachi. “The Rangers/police have eliminated the sense of fear prevailing in the city,” he said, and added, “The issue has never been controversial. The Sindh Government has always praised the achievements of the law- enforcement agencies.” He further said that the KP government had failed to deliver in the province. “The situation in KP is worse than before,” he remarked.

He accused Imran Khan and his party of politicising the non-issues. Chandio advised the PTI that it must pay attention to the progress and prosperity of KP, and particularly to education.

“The PTI government always claims that it has introduced good governance in KP, but the situation in terms of law and order, education, health and other sectors is deteriorating in the province as compared to its past governments,” Chandio said, and added, “Imran always do politics over non-issues. He always tries to entangle masses in non-issues.”

Meanwhile, opposition parties’ lawmakers in the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday demanded the provincial government to extend policing powers of Rangers, with some calling for having a check of provincial government on actions taken by the paramilitary force while the others calling for expanding its powers to the entire province.   

Muttahida Qaumi Movement Parliamentary Leader in Sindh Assembly Syed Sardar Ahmed said that the federal and the Sindh government should sit together to resolve the issue of Rangers policing powers amicably.

Talking to media outside the provincial assembly, Ahmed said that although Rangers should not have all the powers and it should take any action only after taking the provincial government into confidence, but it was need of the hour to grant extension to the paramilitary force as law and order situation still needed improvement.

“These powers will remain controversial until Rangers do not take the chief minister, chief secretary and other provincial government officials into confidence before taking any action,” he said, adding the Rangers powers should not be unlimited and amendment in the constitution should be made to restrict these.  PTI lawmaker Khurram Sher Zaman said that he was not allowed to bring his resolution on the Rangers powers in the assembly.

“It was due to Rangers that the city has witnessed sharp decline in target killings, extortion and other activities,” he said, and added, “The provincial government is neither reforming police department nor it is giving powers to the paramilitary force.”

He further demanded that the policing powers should be extended to the entire Sindh province.

PML-F lawmaker Nusrat Sehar Abbasi said that the PPP government was humiliating the Rangers by disputing its policing powers.

“They have the tendency to extend the powers after launching their protest over the issue,” she added.

Earlier the provincial assembly session started with Sindh Assembly Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza in the chair.

Prayers were offered for the souls of Sindh governor Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui, Junaid Jamshed and others while leave applications of lawmakers, Saifuddin Khalid, Adil Siddiqui of MQM, Pir Fazal Shah of PPPP and Shafi Jamote of PML-N were accepted.  The assembly session was later adjourned for Thursday.  Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly, belonging to Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Khawaja Izharul Hassan has demanded the government of Sindh to grant province-wide special powers to Rangers to ensure law and order situation.

Talking to media men at the premises of Sindh Assembly building on Wednesday, he said that the issue of extending special powers to Rangers should be resolved on permanent basis.

He said criminals and extremists after committing crimes in Karachi fled to the interior Sindh, where the Rangers could not take action against them as the provincial government did not want the paramilitary force to operate in these areas.

He said there should be no two standards for people living in Karachi and people living outside Karachi. “The operation by Rangers should be expanded to the whole province,” he emphasised.

“As a party, we do have reservations over the force’s operations, but it is one of our demands that paramilitary force should be given the powers to operate in the entire province,” MQM-P leader said, adding that workers arrested by the law enforcing agencies should be presented before the courts.

He said for a durable peace in Karachi it was necessary to depoliticise the police department.