Rangers’ powers: PPP decries federal govt decision, calls it ‘invasion of Sindh’

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) condemned in the strongest terms what they called the ‘invasion of Sindh’ by the federal government after the interior ministry on Tuesday rejected the provincial government's summary and extended Rangers' special policing for another 60 days.

In a statement released on Tuesday evening, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari's spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that that by rejecting the constitutional right of Sindh to limit the scope of Rangers' powers, asserting that "the federal government had acted in sheer violation of the Constitution".

"The Pakistan People’s Party will not permit this invasion of the provincial domain and warns against its consequences for the political stability of the federation," said the PPP senator.

Related: Interior ministry extends Rangers' policing powers in Karachi for 60 days

Babar said that in the light of Article 147 of the Constitution, it is abundantly clear that the imposition of certain conditions on the authority of the Rangers as well as seeking ratification of those limitations from the Provincial Assembly is well within the constitutional rights of the provincial government.

Article 147 of the Constitution reads below:

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, the Government of a Province may, with the consent of the Federal Government, entrust, either conditionally or unconditionally, to the Federal Government, or to its officers, functions in relation to any matter to which the executive authority of the Province extends.

Provided that the Provincial Government shall get the functions so entrusted ratified by the Provincial Assembly within 60 days.

About the ATA amendment

Babar, in the statement, maintained that the PPP rejects the claim of federal interior minister that the Sindh government and assembly were seeking unconstitutional annulment or abridgement of a federal law, namely the Anti Terrorism Act.

Neither the Sindh Assembly nor the provincial government has sought to annul the federal law, he added.

"At no stage the provincial government has called for annulling or abridging the ATA or any other federal law," said Babar.

Earlier, Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah, in an apparent reaction to Chaudhry Nisar's statement said that "federal government has taken an 'unconstitutional' step today (Tuesday)".

Talking to media, Shah also rejected Chaudhry Nisar's earlier claim that the federal government is providing Rs9 billion for Rangers' expenses in Sindh.

"This claim of providing Sindh a sum of Rs9 billion annually for Rangers is incorrect," said the provincial finance minister.

Related: Federal govt spends Rs9bn annually on Sindh Rangers, asserts Nisar

Senior PPP leader Khursheed Shah also objected upon the move questioning Nisar's conduct of not taking Sindh chief minister into confidence over the matter.

The adviser to Sindh chief minister on information, Maula Bux Chandio, said that the federation is overtaking Sindh Assembly's authority.

"We have full confidence in Rangers, our objection is upon the federation," said Chandio.

He was of the view that the problems created for provinces by the federation will also have impacts on federation.

The federal interior ministry, however, rejected the provincial finance minister's claim and said that Nisar never claimed that the amount spent on Rangers in Sindh is given directly to Sindh government.

The statement released by interior ministry asserted that the federation spends Rs9 billion annually on paramilitary force in Sindh and the details regarding the expenditure will be released in the newspapers.

About the recent move to grant Rangers policing powers, the ministry maintained that if anyone has objection towards the move, he or she can access the court.

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