KARACHI: Director General Pakistan Rangers Sindh Maj. Gen. Mohammad Saeed has urged the business and industrial community to immediately inform Rangers about any extortion threat as soon as they receive it so that the culprits could be taken to task along with provision of security to the complainant at their business premises and homes but that complaint must be genuine. “If you don’t complain, we will not be able to help you”, he added.
Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday, DG Rangers said, “With a small force of just 11,000 troops, we simply cannot make deployments outside every single shop but we will make sure that anyone receiving extortion threat gets immediate security.”
Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairman BMG & Former President KCCI Haroon Farooki, President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik, Senior Vice President KCCI Abdul Basit Abdul Razzak, Vice President KCCI Rehan Hanif, Former Presidents AQ Khalil & Shamim Ahmed Firpo, Chairman of Law & Order Sub-Committee Mansoor Ahmed Kadwani, Chairman of Special Committee for Small Traders Majeed Memon and others were present at the meeting.
Referring to recent hand grenade attack at Kharadar Cloth Market, DG Rangers said that nobody lodged any complaint about receiving threat calls from a particular gang which resulted in the said hand grenade attack. The victims themselves were responsible for the loss of life and injuries at Kharadar Cloth Market as nobody ever complained about the threats given on phone which was disclosed later after the attack, he added.
DG Ranger Mohammad Saeed pointed out that 104 Rangers troops have been martyred and hundreds were injured since September 2013 to protect the lives and properties of Karachiites. “Nobody acknowledges these sacrifices but a single failure, results in huge criticism towards Rangers officers who are working out of their skins and striving really hard to maintain peace and stability all over Karachi”, he added.
He was of the opinion that everyone has to play their due role in dealing with issues and problems in our society but unfortunately this was not happening as nobody is playing role for the ‘collective good’ which is constantly being ignored. “This is one of the major social weakness and we have to deal with it by contributing towards collective good whereas the differences of opinion amongst everyone must also be sorted out and bipartisan practices need to be encouraged, besides dealing with low tolerance”, he stressed, adding that Collective Good, Bipartisan practices and tolerance were more important than the economic stability as only those countries and cities have been growing exceptionally well who have all these three elements in their society.
Countering President KCCI’s remarks pertaining to Rangers’ helplessness in dealing with extortion mafia, DG Ranger categorically stated that Rangers never was, never is and never will be helpless in dealing with the extortion mafia and it has been taking strictest action and providing full security upon receiving complaints.
He said that rangers never arrests any innocent member of business community and every single arrest being made is given go ahead personally by himself.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli appreciated DG Rangers for promptly responding to KCCI’s requests to visit the Chamber in order to discuss some of the pressing issues being suffered by the business and industrial community.
He underscored that in order to deal with rising extortion threats, everyone including Rangers and business community are supposed to be on the same side and work collectively with total honestly to resolve this particular issue.
Referring to Karachi Operation which started in 2013, Siraj Teli said that it took five years of dedicated efforts to bring this city at the current level where decades old issues have been successfully taken care of which was only due to the role played by police, rangers, political parties and the business community. We all have sacrificed and contributed our share to it. As most of the major issues have been successfully resolved, it is time to deal with left over petty issue of extortion. “The elephant is out, and only the tail is left. We have to take out this tail as well and make sure the elephant never comes back again”, he said.
He was of the opinion that everyone has made a lot of sacrifices for this city during all these years and if the law and order situation had not been sabotaged more than 20 years ago, this city would have been far ahead from where it is today because of its sharp, resilient and hardworking inhabitants belonging to all four provinces of the country, speaking different languages and representing multiple cultures and ethnicity.
Reiterating KCCI’s clear policy, Siraj Teli said that KCCI will never support facilitators of Extortion Mafia which is not because of Rangers’ pressure but it was purely the Chamber’s policy i.e. to always raise voice for the truth only and never support any wrong. “Anything wrong is wrong. We have raised voice for the truth during the last 20 years and will continue to do so in future as well”, he added while referring to some individuals and Groups who were attempting to create misunderstandings.
To deal with the extortion mafia, Siraj Teli underscored the need to devise some kind of a system or mechanism which encourages those members of the business community to come forward and start reporting extortion threats as it has been observed that people usually refrain from reporting extortion threats to KCCI or any Law Enforcing Agencies due to fears. “If you will not report incidents to us, how is it possible for Karachi Chamber or Rangers to help you out”, he asked and advised Rangers to utilize its intelligence or seek assistance from IB, ISI and other Law Enforcing Agencies to deal with extortionists.
Referring to arrests of three small traders by Rangers on charge of facilitating extortionists, he said that if rangers holds a list of other such facilitators and they have solid evidences against them, the Karachi Chamber has absolutely no problems and the Rangers was free to take action against such elements. “However, whenever anyone is arrested, Rangers should at least inform their family members about their whereabouts, it is their right to ask about the location. In this regard, a system has to be devised by Rangers to minimize the hardships of perturbed family members”, he added.
He advised Rangers to share evidences of such suspects with Karachi Chamber and if these evidences are solid, KCCI will certainly support Rangers as it has been observed on numerous occasions that many individuals have been detained on the basis of doubts and then released within a couple of days when found not guilty which we understand.
He was of the opinion that Rangers must also scrutinize all markets associations to find out who is who, what is their past which will help them understand what type of people they are and whether they should be taken seriously or not because we don’t want to complaint about anybody but there are people who misguide and misuse the situation and keep changing their stance.
He advised small traders of Old city Areas that if they are afraid of disclosing details to Rangers, they should make a note and hand it over to any office bearer of Karachi Chamber which could be passed on to Rangers so that action could accordingly be taken. “We simply don’t want people to deal with their personal enmities by misusing such a facility”, he said, adding that details of the complainant will not be disclosed at any cost.
Siraj Teli said that if small traders were not satisfied with any system devised either by KCCI or by Rangers, they should devise it themselves and let us know. If we find it correct, we will get it implemented for lodging their complaints. “You have to share details and act courageously otherwise we will not be able to ensure security to you people.”
Earlier, President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik, in his welcome address expressed grave concern over rising activities of extortion mafia and helplessness of police and rangers to control the situation.
He urged DG Rangers to ensure full-fledged security at commercial markets of the city, particularly the Old City Areas where extortionists were more active.