KARACHI: Pakistan Rangers Sindh claimed to have arrested at least 4,074 suspected criminals during a total number of 2,410 raids and operations conducted during the year 2015.
According to Rangers spokesperson, out of the 4,074 arrested, 2,198 were formally handed over to police for persecution.
“Those handed over to police included 887 terrorists, 268 target killers, 97 extortionists and 49 kidnappers,” said the statement issued by Rangers.
The report says that at least 12 Rangers personnel were killed while 20 were injured during a total of 69 encounters with ‘criminals’. The paramilitary force killed 152 ‘hardened criminals’ and ‘terrorists’ during these encounters.
About the weaponry recovered during this time, the report says that at least 2,765 weapons including machine guns, light machine guns, sub-machine guns, rocket launchers, detonators, avan bombs and explosives.
19, 2944 rounds of ammunition of different caliber was also recovered.
The report further says that about 18 abducted individuals were released during the year due to efforts of paramilitary force personnel.
Rangers in Karachi
Assisting the police in Karachi since 1989 when the Pakistan Peoples Party government in the centre at the time had called in the Rangers and the Frontier Constabulary to curb rising political violence in the metropolis, the paramilitary force started enjoying policing powers a few years ago amid increasing number of killings on sectarian, political and ethnic grounds in the city.
Rangers is currently spearheading an ‘operation’ against criminal elements in Karachi, which was initiated back in September 2013 after the federal cabinet empowered the force to lead a targeted advance with the support of police against criminals already identified by federal military and civilian agencies for their alleged involvement in targeted killings, kidnappings for ransom, extortion and terrorism in Karachi.
The question of extending Rangers’ stay in Karachi became controversial when the Sindh government failed to renew it before the expiry of the previous order on Dec 6.
After delaying the matter for a few days, the Sindh government took the issue to the provincial assembly which adopted a resolution to provide for checks and conditions on Rangers’ special powers to raid and arrest suspects.
However, the federal interior ministry on December 23, gave a 60-day extension in the special policing powers granted to Rangers in the province.
The summary sent to the federal government by Sindh government on the matter of extending Ranger’s policing powers was rejected and a letter was issued to the Sindh government in this regard instructing it to draft a new summary regarding the matter without posting any conditions.