The post of Director General Rangers Sindh is lying vacant since June 14 when its last incumbent Major General Aijaz Chaudhry was displaced from the slot after the Supreme Court ordered his removal when Rangers’ jawans killed a young man.
Now the Rangers in Sindh is being commanded by Brigadier Zafar Iqbal who is the acting DG, and sources have confided that as such there are no clues in the power corridors that the quarters concerned have made a move for appointing a regular DG Rangers for the province.
Defence analysts and senior ex-military officers deem that there was something ‘deliberate’ in it. They are confused about the continuation of the interim arrangement. “Why is an officer of the rank of a Brigadier heading an institution like Rangers? And who is a hurdle in the appointment of a Major General as DG Rangers, which is a constitutional requirement?” they questioned, while asserting that the situation was being allowed to deteriorate, and one of the implications of keeping a key-post vacant was that the concerned quarters were going soft on it.
They have also observed that though the top officers of the force are from the Army, but the paramilitary force falls under the purview of the federal government, and the present dispensation’s no effort in this regard raises certain questions, especially when the force has launched an operation against the miscreants and criminals in the blood-drenched city, which is bleeding for quite some time now, and there is no end in sight to this as well.
Experts believe that under normal circumstances an Acting DG can manage matters, but in an extraordinary situation when the operation has been initiated, this ‘sanctioned post’ should have been filled immediately when it fell vacant. They mentioned that as a matter of routine the Military-Secretary Branch of the Army’s General Headquarters sends a panel of three officers to the Interior Ministry for the appointment of a regular incumbent to the post. They also assert that since the matter was extremely pressing, the Ministry should have made a move, and if it has not, then it gives rise to serious questions. To them, this very fact amply proves why the Rangers have been ineffective so far. “In case, he – Brigadier instead of a Major General – has to get in contact with the GHQ for certain decisions, his communication will be certainly marred, and his decision-making power will be adversely affected as the present incumbent is also vulnerable to civil orders,” they observed, adding that the Rangers was familiar with the Karachi’ites primarily because of its long-time deployment. “If the Rangers has to do it, then give it all powers, and place the police under it. For this, neither new legislation is required nor nod from the federal government, but willingness to act earnestly after doing the spadework, including appointing DG Rangers,” they opined.
General (retd) Hameed Gull, while averring that one man rule suited the US, said it was wrong. “It is beyond the understanding why the slot has been kept vacant,” he added.
Brig (retd) Farooq Hameed maintained that the DG had to appointed, and the force should not have a Brigadier as an Acting DG. “It is a serious flaw since from the command and control point of view, it is an imperative and a full-time job, which leaves little room for adhocism,” he averred, adding that the operation was being carried out under the Interior Ministry, not Army. “Why is the federal government having an acting arrangement?” he questioned.
Brig (retd) Pervez Asghar Mian, who has served in Karachi, observed that in Karachi, the whole operation was a musical chair, and no body was serious to carry out it honestly.
When contacted DG Inter-Services Public Relations Major-General Ather Abbas said the DG Rangers was removed after the SC decision, and since then this post was vacant. “I cannot offer comment on it because I will have to check it from the MS Branch,” he concluded.
PPP’s Sindh leader Sharmila Farooqui sees no problem in this since “they are no administrative issues, and the acting DG is performing well. And you never know he could be elevated to the higher post,” she asserted, while admitting that appointment of a regular incumbent would have been an ideal situation.