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National

June 12, 2015

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The consequences of Rangers’ bombshell

DUBAI: The Rangers have finally hit the Karachi Lernaean hydra on its head by giving out the list of crimes and quantifying the scale but what it means in practical terms is a military operation that will have to topple many political, criminal, social and religious Dons, both local and international.It will be a massive undertaking that may be easier to plan but difficult to implement.
That it has to be a military operation is obvious because in the Rs230 billion clean up operation the men involved, mostly larger than life persons who are to be targeted, are the same people who run the affairs of the city and the province.
Thus a thief cannot be asked to catch himself and surrender unless a real big stick is about to smack him.The Rangers’ move is fraught with serious consequences, both administrative, political and for security and peace in the city and the province. Why this is so is clear.
If the Rangers are not ready, or not in a position, to follow up their highly disturbing investigations and findings with real action, these gangs and mafias and their political bosses will get a huge boost and feel free to expand their criminal operations. Rangers and the army will lose face, which they simply cannot afford.
If the Rangers carry out their operation in a half-hearted shoddy way and these criminals succeed to politicise the issue, again the result will be extremely dangerous.If the Rangers do not appear to be hitting out at all those involved, across the board, the public at large and other organisations may react.
If there is resistance from the political government and politicians who control a larger chunk of Karachi and Sindh, the entire set-up may have to be swept aside.For an operation against these entrenched criminals, both political and members of the police, other local and provincial government departments, a strong government backing would be needed and the present set-up is not suited to this kind of action. So a regime change at

the province will be a pre-requisite.
The easiest and the constitutional way to do that will be to have full support of the federal government and to impose emergency or governor’s rule in Sindh.There will be some political resistance but right now both the main PPP and the MQM are in disarray -- the PPP having been routed from almost the entire country in all levels of polls and the MQM facing serious charges following the raid and arrest of top men from its Nine-zero headquarters.
Yet the power to create hurdles and disruption of life and administrative machinery is still there. That will be Rangers’ number one challenge and the job will not be possible without the full and all-out support of the federal government and the army. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will thus have to decide whether he stands by these political criminals or with the army/Rangers.
The obvious inference thus can be that Rangers have started a process that could lead to a military takeover, at least in one province.But the importance of the Rangers move is in its timing.It cannot be conceived that the army generals who are sitting in Apex Committee meetings and making such massive revelations against sitting and entrenched forces, would do so without a plan and without thinking through the whole strategy.
It can then be safely said that in the days and weeks to come, politicians and their top Dons will be facing days of hardship. Some may quit the country but whether they succeed will depend on how well prepared the Rangers are in carrying out their operation.

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