Rangers Directed not to Arrest Lawmakers - Nisar
ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told his fellow members in the National Assembly on Tuesday that he had directed the Rangers Sindh chief not to arrest lawmakers.
Nisar said Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani had informed him that some lawmakers were facing criminal charges and that they could be arrested by the paramilitary force.
“I have stopped the director general of Rangers from arresting the lawmakers,” said the minister. “They [the Rangers] can only file cases against them on concrete evidences, that too after consulting with me.”
He told the house that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s claims regarding party activists going missing and their extrajudicial killings allegedly at the hands of the Rangers officials were “false and misleading”.
Nisar said the problem lay not with the paramilitary force but with the speeches of MQM chief Altaf Hussain. “The MQM has no control over what their leader says in his speeches from London.”
The security tsar said Karachi’s mode of operation was changed on the request of the MQM. “We are prepared to address their grievances, because ‘missing persons’ is not a part of the government’s policy.”
He said the MQM was creating a wrong impression about themselves that they were being victimised. “I’m ready to share the details of the Karachi operation.”
The minister said peace had been restored in Karachi after 20 years, “after the Rangers arrested everyone causing unrest in the port city”. He said all the political parties except the MQM were in favour of the Karachi operation.
Nisar told the house that an MQM delegation, headed by party leader Farooq Sattar, had recently met him. He said he had advised them to “control your chief Altaf Hussain”. He admitted to the MQM that “I know you don’t have any control over what happens in London”.
The interior minister also convened a meeting with the DG Rangers and intelligence officials and issued them fresh directives.
He said the damage had already been done, adding that damage control would take more time for the MQM.
He reiterated that the Rangers, the Pakistan Army or the ongoing targeted operation in Karachi was not against the MQM. “The government is prepared to sit down with the MQM to discuss their persisting issues to resolve them.”
Nisar said the government had gathered credible evidence from MQM headquarters Nine Zero during the Rangers’ raid and that they had apprehended only the suspects they had gone there for. “We are prepared to make that evidence public.”
He said there needed to be some accountability for the weapons recovered from the party’s headquarters.
Terming Nisar’s speech “rational”, Sattar clarified that the Karachi operation was started on the request of the MQM. However, the MQM leader did not counter any other points presented by the interior minister.
Extrajudicial Killing of MQM workers
MQM members demanded that a monitoring committee be constituted to oversee the Karachi operation, as they protested against the “extrajudicial killing” of party worker Muhammad Hashim.
The issue was highlighted by Nasreen Jalil who wanted to know how long could “innocent people would be killed”.
Col (retd) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi said the “law enforcement agencies have, unfortunately, become a party and lost the love and trust of the people [in Karachi]”.
Though Rabbani did not give any ruling on the demand, he asked the members to discuss the issue with the interior minister.
When Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Farhatullah Babar said the MQM members had called the House of Federation (Senate) and that it must respond instead to the matter as provincial subject, Rabbani said: “It is more advisable for you to talk to your party (PPP), which is in power in the province.”
PPP’s Sassui Palijo said the Sindh government could not be held accountable for what was happening. “All political parties should disband their militant wings and present terrorists as per the list of the interior ministry.”
Earlier, the house had passed a motion moved by Raja Zafarul Haq that the whole house may constitute itself into a committee to consider the mode of elections of the Senate.
In addition, the house approved amendments in rules regarding constitution of a functional committee on devolution and the procedure for submission of public petitions.
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