KARACHI: An agreement has been reached for the local police and rangers to acquire 20,000 bulletproof vests and helmets. This preparation for the targeted operation against criminals in the area.

Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah initiated the process. According to home department officials, the government will announce a tender for this connection soon.

Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan assured a ‘surgical’ operation in the port city within days, but the commitment of powers to Rangers has yet to be done. Pakistan Rangers are supposed to not only conduct raids but also investigate and prosecute criminals. The government has yet to determine how the Rangers will be given these powers constituted in the 18th Amendment.

“We are still busy trying to figure out which kind of special powers the government can give the Rangers because it is a sensitive matter,” a government official told a newspaper column. “All we know is that the Rangers have the training to protect the borders and are not meant for any city or its citizens.”There has been reluctance on this matter confesses the official. The final decision is likely to be taken at the All Parties Conference scheduled in Islamabad.

When it comes to training police and Rangers, there are several differences.“We have to think several times before opening even a single fire even we are in the violent area but the Rangers are trained to shoot a suspect before he shoots them,” another senior police officer explained the difference in the training of police and Rangers.

Recently, DIG Naveed said the police are already conducting raids and arrests in the city, particularly in sensitive areas. “I am just asking my police force to work with sincerity for their country,” he said, adding that they cannot boast of any significant progress in the past two or three days, but police confidence is high. “It does not matter who leads the operation,” he said, dismissively. “The police will lead the operation when they have any information and the Rangers will lead the operation with the help of the police if they have any information.”

Unless notification is issued, the Rangers said they cannot start the operation. “We are taking action in different areas but that is a routine activity,” said a senior Ranger official. “We arrest the suspects and hand them over to the police because we do not have special powers yet.”

The Sindh government has given the go-ahead to an Rs5-billion modernization plan to adequately equip law enforcers for combating crime, particularly in Karachi. The proposal, when finally implemented, will see policemen and Rangers wearing necessary protective gear, including bulletproof vests and helmets, and handling modern weapons such as submachine guns.

Under the latest proposal sanctioned by the Sindh chief minister, 25,000 bulletproof jackets, 20,000 bulletproof helmets, 5,000 protective gloves and 5,000 submachine guns would be released progressively to equip law enforcers.