LAHORE: Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah confirmed late Friday that the Punjab government has sought help from the paramilitary Rangers for operations against banned outfits and terrorists in ‘specific’ areas of the province only.
The law minister said Rangers were being called in the province under Section 7 and 10 of the Pakistan Rangers’ Ordinance and added, a requisition was sent to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Friday for approval.
The minister also tried to make clear that Rangers in Punjab would be not be enjoying the same policing powers as they have in Sindh since the core purpose of future deployment in the biggest city of the country was of different nature.
In Karachi, Rangers help to maintain law and orders situation in place while on the other hand, Rangers in Punjab would assist only the civil institutions, said Rana Sanaullah.
Sanaullah said Rangers would be deployed in some areas as mentioned by the provincial apex committee to carry out intelligence-based operations against terrorist, banned organisations and their facilitators in tandem with the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).
He maintained that Rangers would stay in Punjab only for two months initially, however, if needed their stay could be extended a bit longer.
Experts believe calling Rangers in Punjab is linked with taking the much-talked-about National Action Plan (NAP) to another level after top civil and military leaderships took major decisive decisions in the last rounds of NAP talks in the federal capital.
In a bid to ensure the deployment of paramilitary troops across the Punjab province under NAP, the province now awaits Mr Sharif’s official nod.
The Punjab government made the recent efforts to act as per NAP after Chief of the Army Staffs General Raheel Sharif sends out a clear stance in his message on September 6 that full action needed to be taken against terrorism without any favours.
General Sharif had called for the implementation of NAP while stressing on wide-ranging legal and governance reforms to maintain the military’s achievements against terrorists including the ongoing Operation Zarb-i-Azb.