Karachi doesn’t need Rangers!

Published: September 24, 2010

How long will citizens live in fear of men carrying guns on the streets?

Increasing the powers of the para-military troops to police Karachi is supposed to help control the law and order situation. But has it? Ever since 1993, when the Rangers became a visible force in the city, what have they really achieved?

Political forces have awarded Rangers funds and powers which seem to allow then to get away with committing crimes instead of preventing them. Many in the city believe that Rangers go unpunished because of their position. They are superior in rank to the Police and just below that of the Army. But in Karachi, they are supposed to be working under the local police.

Ideally, the Rangers should be protecting our borders near Afghanistan, Iran and India. But here they are in the cities, occupying state buildings for both their residences and offices.

So far no democratic government has been able function without Rangers. Surprisingly, whenever a government’s term in the city is due for renewal, the law and order situation mysteriously deteriorates to provide a valid reason for their extension.

How long will the people of this city fear Rangers with sub machine guns installed on their vehicles as they patrol and stop citizens at will?

One reason for the lack of quality policing by the Rangers in Karachi is because officers do not hail from the urban areas. They have limited training and are extremely disrespectful towards the citizens of urban centres who are not accustomed with their way of law enforcement.

Over the years Karachi has had its share of the atrocities including extra-judicial murders, torture, and illegal confinements orchestrated. But this city has only gone from bad to worse – despite the presence of Rangers.

Recently Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik extended their tenure and increased their powers at a time when the city is strongly opposed to the strategies adopted by the Rangers – especially when it comes to crowd control.

It is difficult to understand how this incompetent department of law enforcement will be any better with additional powers or help control the situation or public outburst as it is clearly heading there.

The measure taken by the Interior Minister to curb sectarian tensions ignores the fact that Rangers have turned a blind eye to the growing number of terrorists in the city. Or are the Rangers supporting them only to get an extension of their contracts to stay back in the metropolis?

It would have been ideal to use the same funds to upgrade the existing police force and to have local residents who have a stake in the city participate in protecting it. This could revolutionise the police’s effectiveness and their services to protect the innocent and maintain law and order. The cost of running two policing department in one city is exorbitant on the ‘poor’ provincial government. Our police department can be revamped so that officers are empowered and motivated to counter those whom the Rangers have so far not able to control.

The hope is that we find a way to manage and not aggravate the crises this city faces on a daily basis.


Syed Ali Raza Abidi

A businessman who writes on politics and civic issues. He completed his masters in business administration from Boston University. He tweets @abidifactor.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Zahid

    Good analysis. One has to think in this line. Recommend

  • ali

    in my i university days when ever vc start thinking sending back rangers,there is always a clash with out a reason b/w PSA(PUNJABI STUDENT ORG)and any xyz student wing.(same old policy for my city)Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    It surely doesnt………Recommend

  • Nasir Jamshed

    I suppose the author wants ranger gone, so political parties who’re laced with weapons could have a go at each other. I don’t know how can police face such situation. The likely outcome, without rangers, would be a party with more numbers and years of experience in gang violence and target killing completely annihilating the other party. Recommend

  • Taimoor Hassan

    Abidi Sahab

    Nice piece of article on Rangers but it is to be realized that our Police is now the worst in the world. They are being utilizing to achieve political motives and Protocols. Recently this great Police got 65% enhancement in Sindh Provincial Budget more than 27 BN unfortunately but it is delima for us and it will remain until and unless institutions will not be empoweredRecommend

  • nooralam

    abidi sahab
    Assallam o Allaikum
    i hope that are very much happy all life nice of article Rangers but it be save of life people
    of karachi thanks Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker S. Ali Raza

    18 years, and they have not been able to control ANYTHING! If the police was upgraded with all this money spent extra on Pakistani’s who should be at the borders. I am sure the Capital City Police would have been very different and efficient by now. Ranger do not even know ways to most of the areas of emergency calls, they have to tag along with a local mobile to take them there… then what their use? Shouldn’t they be used to fight the terrorists that are regularly coming to Pakistan from Afghanistan? Recommend

  • shahbaz

    Extremely sorry [email protected] i really disagree with you on this fictiscious statement that especially in Khi, Punjabi’s probably involved in such bashed activities and you point it out punjabians with XYZ, what do you mean by XYZ ,make it clearRecommend

  • Hammad

    Ah you do know that The Army is deployed at The Borders.. Not The Rangers. No Rangers means more havoc in Karachi. Maybe Karachi needs The Tooth Fairy.Recommend

  • S. M. Abbas

    Salam to all readers,

    With reference to Mr. Abidi’s viewpoints, I may add here that the local peoples should be inducted into the local governmental departments and especially in police force across the country. And then the the local forces including police et cetra should be bound down to play their roles with the cooperation of local luminaries i.e. intellectuals, journalists, pesh-e-namazs or imams and persons of good repute etc. I mean to say that the forces should work under the supervision of a body comprising the aforesaid components of the local society.

    Because, the local peoples do know each other very well. Resultantly, the local forces may not resort to illegal activities in their own areas whether they are members of public or law enforcing agencies. If, anything (hanky panky) is done by the locals or non-locals the defaulter from either side may be held responsible easily. Non-locals should be withdrawn henceforth. Because the non-locals do not mingle with the locals as they do not understand their psyche. The former understand themselves rulers instead of servant(s) of the public as in case of the Rangers. The Rangers (by it’s name) reflects its function should be utilized for which they are appointed.

    To bring the peace and to achieve the normalcy and tranqality in the country, again I would emphasis that indigenous peoples must be appointed in deparmtents of servcies in the their own areas with the appropriate ratio of the races living therein.

    In the last, I would like to say that there is always room for improvement in any system.

    Any comments are welcome in this regard.

    Khuda Pakistan ki Hefazat Karay.
    S. M. AbbasRecommend

  • http://www.tanzeel.wordpress.com Tanzeel

    Rangers have the right to enjoy urbanized life and visiting malls and eating Mc Donald’s. Karachi is the only city which is accommodating such a huge number of Rangers by providing almost all kind of facilities a citizen of metropolis demand. IMO Rangers should be kept in tis city for almost 50 more years so they could mix up with Karachites and then carry out their operations against criminals.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker S. Ali Raza

    @Tanzeel: Good one man! I dare you to live to see the moment ;)
    @S. M. Abbas: You have got the point and some superb suggestion. To begin with, the police must be brought under the local government’s control. Once this is done, everything will be in order.
    @Hammad: Check – Rangers are deployed at Borders. Recommend

  • syed

    few days back rangers opened fire on a funeral ….claiming that they opened first … Rangers conducted house to house search operation during that night in Rizvia ! The Problem is almost majority of the manpower in Rangers , police and law enfrcment agencies consist of non local.they do not know the sensitivity of the areas in karachi only a local can point out and taillor search operations or else according to the dynamics of the location . . Have u ever thought of search operation near rizvia and leaving all the sohrab goth , highway etc aside where now dens are creted by the mafias forming alliances with the extremists destablizing karachi whenever they get a chance and blame it on someone else or tag it sectarian voilence …. my point is you can never fight fire with kerosene think about it …Recommend

  • danish

    hammad My friend rangers are deployed at borders there is no argue abt that.. Search wagah border ceremony and enjoy previously u must have thought them Traffic police not Army … Rangers are of no use stoping the innocent people everywhere in karachi with their typical jat attitude .Recommend

  • D0CT0R

    During just 3 days mafia gang’s ‘law abiding’ goons can wreck n tear apart the whole place and murder 100+ and burn and damage few hundred vehicles,push carts and people’s livelihood with complete impunity.. Rangers is simply no match for these ‘peace loving’ gangster,we need something even more aggressive in here..Recommend

  • Syed Ali


    Rangers are just the manifestation of the master plan for Karachi. They are the operators who are controlled by the ministry of defense. As everyone knows our ministry of defense works under the commands of US secretary of state. The solution is not just in removing rangers from the scene rather the solution is when the real master which is US will be thrown out from our pure land.
    Go America go…. get out of my land…. get out of Iraq…. get out of Afghanistan…. go back to your land o savages.Recommend

  • Muhammad Danish

    If we compare the salaries of Sindh Police with Punjab, then we can see the difference which our government creates for us. Karachi gives 70% budget to run the Pakistan and we should see that how much our government spending on Karachi’s People security and entertainment.
    Our Sindh Chief Minister should make special security for Karachi and that should not be for security of our politicians. This security should be to maintain only Law & Order situation in Karachi. In Karachi we see that Sindhi and Punjabi police stop innocent people and take money because they have come here only to earn money not for providing security to the people of Karachi.Recommend

  • Syed Salman Ali

    Well Written Mr. Ali.. You have give the good facts that why city needs Ranager and what is the profit of having ranager spending million of ruppess on them?Recommend

  • http://www.pakspectator.com Sana Saleem

    I am amazed at the number of rangers deployed in Karachi and still the situation is chaotic and out of order there. Everyday we hear people dying of firing attacks by some unknown. Why the situation is uncontrollable there? Is the Government non serious about it or the circumstances are actually Grave?Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker S. Ali Raza

    We have example of Motorway Police operating on Lyari Expressway and the highways. If we try and honestly spend the money on the police as required, there is no way the educated and the middle-class will start entering the service. These officers will automatically improve the system.

    But Rangers have to go back to where they are rostered for!Recommend

  • D0CT0R

    Law enforcement agencies police/rangers etc could never be a popular among militants & criminals unless either they close their eyes or they become partners in crime. Author here is an active proponent of political militia which wishes that every day should be 12th may when Police were asked to stand down and retire to their police stations and not venture out,while criminals went amuck on street of Karachi with complete impunity. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker S. Ali Raza

    @D0CT0R: well, the Rangers were definitely not able to control the violence then. This is what I mean, there is no trust left on our Police. That needs to change, while the rangers move to borders. Even now, all arrests of militants and criminals is carried out by the Police, why not improve on them?Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker S. Ali Raza

    @D0CT0R: with regards to 12th May, 07, the CJ was the prime reason, and he has all the right to take a notice of it. Rather it should already been taken up by him. MQM has asked for it too, because the party lost 14 of their own, and whose details are mentioned at http://www.mqm.org but no other political party was able to name of even verify if the remaining 50 were their or not, except a few of ANP. A sane person would wonder if MQM was planning an offensive, why were there women and children with them? But a defense, yes.. That’s everybody’s right. There is no reason for you burn your own home, when MQM was achieving peak of popularity, for their work in Karachi. There was peace here from 1999 to until this unfortunate incident happened.

    I suggest you understand it logically, MQM gained nothing out of it.Recommend

  • D0CT0R

    I wholeheartedly agree the police/law enforcement agencies should be localized i.e. locals should be inducted as they are better placed identify problems,relate to it and to respond effectively. BUT as we all have seen,dozens of senior police officials that were not in good books of the local political militia have been mercilessly gunned down and removed from the scene,so if locals are inducted then they would basically but working under fear as not only them but even their families would be exposed and under constant threat. Under those circumustances one can’t expect them to work effectively,competently and in non-partisan manner. Local militia have a history of sending death threats and bullet filled envelopes to any one whom it sees as threat,after initial threating if their target doesn’t mend his ways then he is conveniently eliminated by ‘unknown killers’..Recommend

  • http://ykhan.wordpress.com Yasser

    And we all know Motorway police don’t ask for Bribe but simply asks for ID card and License, i agree with S.Raza on this. RT this one ;)

    We have example of Motorway Police operating on Lyari Expressway and the highways. If we try and honestly spend the money on the police as required, there is no way the educated and the middle-class will start entering the service. These officers will automatically improve the system.
    But Rangers have to go back to where they are rostered for!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker S. Ali Raza

    @D0CT0R: what have the rangers done to stop target killing of police officers? and this is worse in Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa, where a police man is killed almost daily. Why do you suppose the same people killing in Khyber Pakhtumkhuwa will not kill in any other city of Pakistan?Recommend

  • Ammar

    They’re useless. Totally useless.Recommend

  • Munna Khan

    the common thing between rangers and mafias in Karachi is both dont want to leave the lavish of karachi. they both are enjoying money and power in the metropolis. both are the symbol of fear for the citizensRecommend

  • ASIF

    An itresting and thought provoking article deserve to be full applause and appreciation.Being citizen of karachi i fully understand that where the troble spots in the city are and the surprising factor is this that the majority of rangers in the city resides in the very same places how can they take action against crimnals and terrorists when they lives besides them .ALMOST all of the rangers persoonel are non karachites doing job for the sake of the money and have alittle intrest in peace and security of the city as their own faimlies are not residing with them and they are far away from the trouble city it is the high time that we citizen of karachi who have stake in the city to be standup and to demand local policing system from the government and to say good by to rangersRecommend

  • Sunny

    Bhai Blogger Your Words are Awesome. Carefully chosen might be perfectly placed but are you sure that these are realistic words.Are you living in Pakistan or not, have you ever been to any police station or Any Major Police Office in Karachi… What the hack is happening in there are you aware of it ??? Your Picture captions says ” How long will citizens live in fear of men carrying guns on the streets? ” then what about those legal/Illegal weapons those are hidden under peoples cloths and because of that out on road people are afraid to interact with other people etc. come on man. I do condemned their act. but i am sorry i don’t agree with you.Recommend

  • nasir movania

    i think the biggest thing my city need is educated police, and people from city that care for city. no quotas for anyone. but unfortunately it cant happen as all these jobs need some influence and money to get in. Recommend