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Karachi corps commander met Syed Qaim Ali Shah

23 July, 2016

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KARACHI: A meeting between the Karachi corps commander and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah over the issue of Rangers’ special powers and an extension of their mandate to the whole of the province ended without a breakthrough on Friday.

However, government officials saw Mr Shah’s meeting with Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar, the corps commander, as a step in positive direction against the backdrop of sour relationship between the Sindh government and paramilitary Rangers over the extension of their powers.

The special powers given to Rangers by the provincial government for Karachi division expired on July 19. This time, the paramilitary force as well as Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan wanted the Sindh government to extend the tenure of its special powers not only for Karachi but for the whole province.

“The chief minister and the Karachi corps commander met to discuss certain issues such as the targeted operation in Karachi, over law and order situation, implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and extension of powers to the Rangers in Sindh,” said a statement issued by the CM House.

A government spokesman said that the CM and the corps commander also discussed the delay in the issuance of extension of powers to the Rangers in Sindh.

The chief minister assured the corps commander that he was in consultation with his party leadership and the matter would be solved shortly.

Shortly after the meeting ended, CM Shah reached Bilawal House to brief Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

Sources said the PPP chairman left the city for Dubai after having a detailed discussion with Mr Shah.

The sources said Mr Shah too would leave Karachi for the United Arab Emirates on Saturday (today) to be part of a series of meetings with the party leadership that includes former president Asif Ali Zardari.

They said that any decision regarding the extension in the Rangers’ powers either only for Karachi or for whole Sindh would be announced after these meetings, which would also decide the future course of action of the ruling PPP and an imminent reshuffle in the provincial cabinet and top bureaucracy.

Earlier, the meeting between the corps commander and the CM was held in ‘a good atmosphere’. It continued for more than one-and-a-half-hours and later Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah, Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal and CM’s Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab also joined it.

The CM said his government was committed to eradicating terrorism and other criminal acts such as targeted killing, extortion and kidnapping for ransom from the province.

“I appreciate the law enforcement agencies, particularly police and Rangers, for restoring peace to the city,” he said and thanked the corps commander for taking a personal interest in implementation of the NAP.

Meanwhile, Advisor to the CM on Information Maula Bux Chandio on Friday said that the Sindh government was fully committed to maintaining peace and ensuring the rule of law in Sindh as per the Constitution.

In a statement, he said: “No interference in the [way of the] Karachi operation is being made as all the process in this regard is as per law.”

He said anti-democratic forces backed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government “are out to harm PPP’s Sindh government, but we are determined to foil such nefarious designs.”

“We want the federal government not to interfere in Sindh government affairs as it is wise enough to resolve the issues amicably.”

Also on Friday, the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) urged the CM to extend the Rangers’ stay in the province till complete restoration of law and order.

FPCCI’s senior vice president Sheikh Khalid Tawab demanded that the CM approach the federal government to give a legal cover to the Rangers’ stay in the province.

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