ISLAMABAD - President Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians, Asif Ali Zardari, and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari are ready to fight it out with the federal government if the two sides do not find a solution within days, party sources said yesterday.

Earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to hammer out the differences over the Rangers deployment in Karachi. The meeting could not resolve the matter prompting the premier to direct Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to visit Karachi and pacify the Sindh government.

After his meeting with PM Sharif, the Sindh CM said his government would not compromise on constitutional right to put conditions on Rangers powers.

“It is the right of province to call in officials of any institution conditionally or unconditionally under article 147 of the Constitution. The Sindh Assembly made a decision on Rangers and gave it powers to carry out operation against target killing, extortion and terrorists,” he asserted.

As the tussle intensified, former president Asif Ali Zardari accused the federal government of invading the Sindh province against the spirit of the constitution.

It all began when the interior ministry approved an extension in Rangers’ ‘unconditional’ powers in Karachi for the next 60 days rejecting the Sindh government’s summary, which contained proposal of granting ‘conditional’ powers to the para-military force.

The Sindh cabinet warned it could move court if the federal government failed to address the concerns of the Sindh government on the Rangers powers.

A senior PPP leader told The Nation that Bilawal and Zardari were fed up with the centre’s attitude and were committed to defend the rights of the provincial government.

“The top leaders believe the federal government was trying to impose an undeclared centre rule in Sindh which would not be allowed. They are regularly discussing the situation,” he said.

Referring to the recent statements of Bilawal and Zardari, he said, “They are ready to go head-on with the centre for their rights. The onus is on the federal government to settle the issue and accept Sindh government’s writ.”

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is not known to have good relations with the PPP’s Sindh government and his meetings with CM Shah could only be fruitful if the centre accepts most of the PPP demands.

“There is a grudge against the interior minister as he seems to be becoming the captain of the Karachi operation instead of the chief minister. Hopefully, he will be asked by the PM to be logical,” said another PPP leader.

Pakistan Muslim league (Nawaz) leader Senator Mohammed Javed Abbasi said law and order situation in Karachi has improved in the last few months after the successful operation against terrorists.

He said the federal government supports democracy and was not unduly interfering in the Sindh affairs.

Another PML-N leader Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said Rangers had played an exemplary role in economic development in Karachi.

“The situation in Karachi has improved to a great extent as compared to that in past. The Prime Minister is also taking keen interest to improve the economy of the country and visiting Karachi at regular intervals as the port city is the trade hub of Pakistan,” she said.

Defence analyst Major General Farooq Iqbal (retd) said Rangers played an important role to ensure peace in Karachi.

He said the Sindh police and army have also been supporting Rangers. “People of Karachi are very much satisfied and carrying out their routine activities with full confidence and without any fear. The situation has improved in the country after the successful operation.”

General Iqbal said the government and security forces have been taking measures to stop the funding of terrorists. “The facilitators of militants are being brought to justice. The political issues should be settled,” he added.