KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah today approved a summary giving a go-ahead for the special policing powers to the paramilitary force engaged in the targeted operation against terrorists in Karachi.

Rangers have been granted the special powers for 60 days with effect from December 6. The paratroopers have been empowered to take action in order to curb terrorism, sectarian targeted killings, extortion activities and kidnapping for ransom in Karachi.

Under Anti-Terrorism Act, Rangers can detain and interrogate any person for 90 days without assigning any reason. It should be mentioned here that different political parties, religious, private and business organizations mounted protest over the Sindh government's effort to curtail Rangers powers through a resolution passed at Sindh Assembly.

Earlier on December 16, the provincial assembly adopted a resolution that allowed Rangers to stay in Karachi for another 12 months with new conditions.

However, the resolution, tabled by Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal, drew protest from opposition parties.

Opposition lawmakers said that they were not taken into confidence about the draft of the resolution, adding that Rangers were not given powers.

PML-F leaders Nusrat Sahar and Shehryar Mehr tore copies of the resolution passed by the PPP members.

The resolution acknowledges that law and order in Sindh in general has improved due to joint efforts of Sindh Police and Pakistan Rangers and that the government is appreciative of efforts and sacrifices made by officers and jawans of both the law enforcement agencies.

The resolution, however, attached following conditions for the Rangers to stay in Karachi in aid of civil administration and police for the next 12 months.

“The Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) will have powers in respect of the following only: 1) target killing, 2) extortion/bhatta, 3) kidnapping for ransom and 4) sectarian killings.

“Any person who is not directly involved in terrorism and is only suspected of aiding and abetting terrorists or by way of terror financing or facilitating terrorists shall not be placed under preventive detention under any law without prior written approval of the Government of Sindh or Chief Minister.

“It is clarified that in a case a person is suspected of the above, cogent reasons with complete evidence justifying such preventive detention shall be provided to the Government of Sindh, which will be based on available evidence, approve or reject such proposal of preventive detention.

“It further said that Rangers shall not raid any office of the Government of Sindh or any other Government Authority without prior written approval of the Chief Secretary, Government of Sindh. “The Rangers shall not assist any other institution/organization apart from Sindh police in carrying out its actions.

“This is further resolved that the Government of Sindh while granting any powers to Pakistan Rangers and Sindh Police shall take into account all of the above conditions.

The federal government voiced reservations over Sindh Assembly resolution regarding the special powers of Rangers for operation in the province, as the interior ministry said Karachi operation may be negatively impacted thus.

According to sources privy to federal interior ministry, the issue regarding the policing powers of paramilitary force in Sindh is being considered highly critical; hence, the center views the resolution in question differently.

According to sources, the interior ministry believed that curtailment of Rangers policing powers will have negative repercussions on the ongoing targeted operation in Karachi.

The federal government is in process of consultations, the informed sources said adding the interior ministry decided to take recourse to the law ministry over legal aspects as well.

The sources revealed to sources that the federal government is awaiting the copy of the resolution from Sindh government and any conclusive decision will be taken only afterwards, if at all.