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LHC seeks Government’s reply over special powers to Rangers

LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) heard a special petition on special powers to Rangers in Punjab and summoned the government’s reply over giving special powers to rangers.
A petition stated that a country-wide operation had been started against the terrorists under the National Action Plan (NAP). Contrary to this special operation against the terrorism, the Rangers in Punjab were restricted by the government. Rangers had been given special powers in other provinces.
The petitioner urged that special powers should be granted to Rangers in Punjab to achieve major goals in war against terrorism. Petition seeks that the Rangers should be given the same powers as given to the paramilitary forces in KPK and Sindh.
The bench of the honorable court summoned reply from the federal government over the issue till April 19.
It is significant to mention here that upon the request of Punjab government, federal had accepted the deployment of Rangers in the province by extending its powers to the paramilitary force, under the section four and five of the Anti-Terrorist Act for 60 days.
The rangers were deployed after the wave of terrorism in Punjab, which caused the massacre of hundreds of innocents. The decision to call in Rangers in Punjab was taken at the Apex Committee meeting held with Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the chair.
The rangers had to work in coordination with the police and Counter-Terrorism Department for search and combat operations in province.
The Rangers were associated with netting and killing terrorists in the Punjab during intelligence-based operations. But it was only when their need was felt and they joined the CTD and the police. Unlike the past, it was believed that this time the Rangers would be given a leading role to operate against miscreants, but the Punjab government tended to restrict their powers.