Director General Rangers Sindh Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that militants and criminals were taking refuge in political and ethnic parties and using the flags of these parties to commit illegal activities.
Ejaz Chaudhry was giving a briefing to the Supreme Court’s five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry hearing the suo moto case on the Karachi killings.
“The political face of the city has been taken hostage by militant groups of political parties,” the DG Rangers said. “The situation in Karachi is a very serious issue and could be declared even worse than Waziristan,” said the DG who has taken part in the military operations in Swat and Waziristan. However, he said that no criminal could escape prosecution if the state decided to take action against criminal elements.
He informed the court that the paramilitary force was fully capable of controlling the law and order situation and requested the court that the tenure of the Rangers’ power be further extended to allow them to maintain permanent peace in the city. He expressed the fear that the Rangers’ efforts would go in vain if power to take action against criminals was withdrawn from them in the future.
He said that Prime Minster Yusuf Raza Gilani, in his recent briefing on the law and order situation, had relaxed the restriction on the operations of the Rangers, directing that the police, Rangers and other law enforcement agencies should not be stopped from conducting raids in any area, including on the offices of political parties, since criminals were taking refuge there.
He said that Rangers had conducted successful raids and arrested culprits involved in targeted killings whose details would be shared with the court. He said that Karachi was a mega city but unfortunately an unjust infrastructure had divided it on ethnic and political bases.
“The city also witnesses protests against the KESC for frequent power failures. There are demonstration and rallies for different reasons. As a result, the force has to be divided to take care of all the events,” the DG Rangers said. “Even the health sector is divided on ethnic and parochial bases and it is very likely that a patient or injured person of one community is refused admission or medical treatment asked him to file report in this behalf and if any privileged documents was filed he may submit the same in a sealed cover for perusal by the court.
DG Rangers said that thegovernment machinery has realised the seriousness of the situation and assured that Rangers would bring the city back to normal and ensure that people felt safe. He also suggested the constitution of a high-level body comprising the Chief Minister and other stakeholders to monitor progress in maintaining law and order as well ensuring good governance and social justice. The committee may be bound to send progress reports to the chief justices of the High Court and Supreme Court for perusal.
Meanwhile MQM’s parliamentary leader Dr Farooq Sattar has filed an application through counsel Khalid Ali Z Kazi to be a party in the suo moto case. In the application MQM has submitted that the people of Karachi have heaved a sigh of relief at the initiation of suo moto proceedings.
It was submitted that MQM desired to stay away fearing that proceedings may not become a stage to contest political battles. However when others intervened and their apprehensions were proving correct, they decided to confront those casting direct but incorrect aspersions on the MQM.
The MQM counsel submitted in the application that as many as 562 of their activists and supporters had been killed since 2008 while police and law enforcement agencies were not carrying out any operation to save the common and distressed people of the city. He denied all allegations leveled against the party in these proceedings orally and in writing, and sought copies of documents filed in these proceedings so that it could file specific rebuttals.
He also filed details of lawlessness and violence committed by the land, drug mafia and political opponents of the MQM since July. He prayed that the court direct the law enforcement agencies to take all appropriate measures across the board against all criminals without fear or favour or interference of any political party. The court was requested to deploy law enforcement agencies in sensitive areas and to hold impartial investigations into killings, kidnapping and torture cases in the last three years.
Meanwhile Mohajir Quami Movement (Haqiqi) Chairman Afaq Ahmed also submitted an application to Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry seeking action against the activities of anti-state elements.
Sending an application from Central jail, MQM-H Afaq Ahmed, who is in prison since April 2004, submitted that the government was trying to bring the Muttahida Quami Movement in government again and that was the reason that its officials were deliberately hiding the truth from the court. He said that iron gates had been fixed to create no-go areas for political rivals and opponent ethnic groups, which was against the freedom of free movement guaranteed by the Constitution.
He said that fixing of iron gates, barriers and the presence of huge quantities of illegal weapons in the city was linked to a conspiracy against the country being hatched by MQM Chief Altaf Hussain, presently residing in London UK. He said this fact was also revealed by the former Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza. He prayed that the court take prompt action to foil any conspiracy against the country.
Online adds: The Inter Services Agency (ISI) will give a briefing in the judges’ chambers at the Supreme Court Karachi Registry today (Thursday). The ISI said that it had submitted through the Attorney General that it wanted to present a report for the perusal of Supreme Court. The court had shown its willingness in this respect.
Sources said the report is most likely to be presented in the judges’ chamber today. Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) counsel, Abdul Qadir Jatoi, presented a CD in the court with regards allegations made by Zulfiqar Mirza against Rehman Malik, and said target killings started in Karachi from 1985.
“We cannot go so far back. The court should be informed if you have any case with reference to prevailing situation,” said the CJ. Abdul Qadir Jatoi told the court target killingsw ere continuing in Karachi under state patronage for the sake of power sharing and upcoming Senate elections. Dr Zulfiqar Mirza had made vital revelation.The CJ said: “If Dr Zulfiqar Mirza has said some thing then his affidavit should be brought and a constitutional petition be filed so that an investigation may be conducted.”
SANA adds: During Wednesday’s proceedings, DG Rangers Major General Ijaz Chaudhry informed the court that militant groups of political and ethnic parties were involved in violence in the city. He added that the situation in Karachi was worse than that in North Waziristan Agency and a military solution would be temporary. He said the issue should be resolved through political means.
The chief of Awami Tehreek, Rasul Bux Palejo submitted that the present government was a dummy and only wanted to collect tax while “the real power is with the US.” He added that everyone knew that the MQM was behind the violence but no one was willing to take their name and even certain judges were scared.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in his remarks during the hearing said that the Rangers were given powers after the killing of more than 300 people in the city. “When the civil agencies exist and the Rangers and Police can deliver than why look to someone else?” the Chief Justice said. The Supreme Court Karachi Registry adjourned the hearing of the Karachi suo motu case till today (Thursday).