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Government to relieve rangers from pipeline protection duty

* Petroleum ministry and Sui gas asked to set up their own force

By Razzak Abro

KARACHI:

The federal government has decided to relieve the Pakistan Rangers from the protection of gas pipelines and has asked the petroleum ministry and Sui Gas authorities to create their own force for the protection of these installations.

Federal Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Sherpao disclosed this after presiding over the 11th Inter-Provincial Conference (IPC) held at the New Sindh Secretariat here on Wednesday. The home ministers of Sindh and Balochistan, home secretaries from the Punjab and NWFP, chief secretaries, provincial police officers, heads of civil armed forces, inspector generals of prisons and railways and federal interior secretary attended the meeting.

Sherpao said that the Pakistan Rangers Punjab and Sindh have been employed for the protection of gas pipelines since January 2003. When asked whether the nationalists from Sindh and Balochistan were found to be involved in the attacks on the national installations, he said that some people were found to have been involved. They had shared some information with the security agencies after they were sensitized, he added.

Responding to a question regarding the withdrawal of the Frontier Constabulary from Karachi, he said that some platoons of the FC were provided to the provincial government and multinational companies. The FC personnel employed with multinational companies would not be withdrawn as the companies had hired their services, however the FC platoons working with the Sindh government would go back whenever they are relieved from the authorities concerned.

Talking about other decisions of the IPC meeting, the interior minister said that the drive against militancy, sectarianism and extremism would continue and those spreading sectarianism would be dealt with an iron hand.

He said that a coordinated campaign would be launched to arrest the wanted terrorists, for which monitoring cells would be created at the national and provincial levels.

Since the CIDs were in the forefront of the fight against terrorists, he said, that the provincial governments have been asked to build their capacity. The ministry of interior would also help by way of technical equipment and training, he added.

Sherpao said that the meeting also decided to establish joint check posts at the inter-provincial borders and other check posts on the highways to check arms smuggling and the movement of miscreants. These joint check posts would be manned by personnel from the police, rangers, ANF, customs and NADRA.

In order to deal effectively with terrorism and other forms of organized crime, the databases of NADRA, FIA, NCMC and the directorate of immigration and passports would be connected.

The interior minister said that a local journalist and some members of the law enforcement agencies were abducted in North Wazirstan and the government was contacting jirgas and exerting pressure for their early recovery, he added. He said the government had adopted different tactics to deal with the situation in FATA. Action was being taken where the presence of foreigners is seen, he added.

Steps such as sealing the Pak-Afghan border and the repatriation and relocation of Afghan refugees were also taken to identify the presence of foreigners in the northern areas, he added. Sherpao said that the development of the northern areas had been speeded up by providing more job opportunities for locals.

Sherpao said that a total of 1,200 foreign seminary students have been sent back to their countries and many of them went voluntarily. “In future no foreign student would be allowed to come here to study in our seminaries,” he said.

Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah responded to a question about the security risks after the opening of the Kokhrapar-Monabao train service on behalf of the interior minister and said that the interior ministry wants to ensure security arrangements before the service starts. It has been recommended that passengers on board should disembark at the borders where temporary shelters should be arranged for them.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2005%5C12%5C08%5Cstory_8-12-2005_pg7_33

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About Razzak Abro

A Karachi based print media journalist, presently working for Daily Times as Chief Reporter at Karachi office

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