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Karachi: Army fires another warning shot

ISLAMABAD: The
Pakistan armed forces on Saturday fired a ‘warning shot’ yet again when
their spokesman, partly taking ownership of actions by the Rangers in
Karachi, expressed anguish over the killing of innocent people in
Karachi.

Talking to a news agency, the Inter-Services Public
Relations Director General Maj Gen Athar Abbas said the Pakistan Army,
like all other people, was concerned about the poor law and order
situation in Karachi which was having an impact on the whole country.

He
said the Army desired that all terrorist activities came to an end in
Karachi. The ISPR DG said it was the duty of the law enforcement
agencies (LEAs) to conduct operations without any discrimination against
criminals. He said the Rangers were conducting operations with the
police while all the secret agencies were providing information to them.
He expressed the hope that action against terrorists would be
successful.

On Zulfiqar Mirza’s allegation that Interior
Minister Rehman Malik had said the Army and ISI would topple the
government if killers were arrested in Karachi, the DG ISPR said Rehman
Malik is the right person to confirm or contradict the report.

The
highest sources in the defence establishment in an exclusive chat with
The News late on Saturday evening made it clear that the reported
interview of ISPR DG Maj Gen Athar Abbas does not contain any change in
the already spelled-out position of the armed forces but it must be
viewed with the seriousness it merits. “It should not go unnoticed as
the armed forces are extremely perturbed and concerned about it.”

“Sometimes
more than one shot is required to be fired before the initiation of the
action but the shots should be underestimated since the situation is
getting precarious,” the sources remarked.

The Chief of the Army
Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and corps commanders have already
formally expressed their anxiety about the situation in Karachi and no
Pakistani who has any love for the motherland and humanity will tolerate
the killing of people for no offence. The sources reminded that the
leadership in the Rangers belongs to the Army and the reinstated
Director General Ejaz Ahmad Chaudhry has a better understanding of the
situation in Karachi.

“For that reason you can trust his
abilities and actions. He is a dignified soldier who has due sense of
responsibility. The special powers given to the Rangers in Karachi will
greatly help the force in its manoeuvrings.” It is understood that the
government was compelled to bestow special powers to the Rangers.

In
the meantime, the sources said that the government is enjoying a last
chance to restore sustainable peace and harmony in Karachi depending on
its conventional muscle otherwise the ‘inevitable’ would become the fate
not much later. The armed forces are parrying every opportunity of
direct involvement but the dictates of the administration would not
continue to stay as the order of the day for an indefinite period of
time.

The armed forces appreciated the recent observations of
Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani that the Army would not be called
in for bringing the situation in Karachi to normalcy. He is in constant
contact with the command of the armed forces, and the government is
provided whatever facility is available with the armed forces to the
administration, the sources said.

In the meantime, the
observations of the ISPR DG in a foreign wire service interview on
Saturday have bothered some ruling political stalwarts who were under
the impression that they have a free hand in dealing with the situation
and an unspecified period of time is at their disposal but they have now
gathered that some vigilant eyes are still active and are continuing to
observe the situation.

The armed forces have reminded that all
sorts of violence must come to an end in Karachi immediately, meaning
that the operation or action, whatever nomenclature is given to it, must
be across-the-board in the true sense, the sources added.

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