Rangers ‘cementing’ hold in Karachi

Despite the fact that the federal government has earmarked Rs 300 million under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the construction of accommodation for Abdullah Shah Ghazi Rangers at Karachi, paramilitary Sindh Rangers are unlawfully running a construction business in the city to “meet expenses”.

Pakistan Today has learnt that the paramilitary force, by the name of Karachi Block Works (KBW), prepares and sells construction material in the open market and also provides services for building and demolishing houses in the city. Their construction depot is situated along the boundary wall of Sheikh Zaid Islamic Research Centre (SZIRC) on University of Karachi (KU) land in Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

Upon visit to the site, Pakistan Today witnessed a large quantity of cement blocks, sand and stones, spread over thousands of square yards of land, with material-loaded trucks, shuttling from and to the depot. Within the depot, Rangers have made a makeshift office where paramilitary personnel ensure their presence for public dealing and security.

Talking to Pakistan Today, a Rangers ‘supervisor’ at the depot said that Rangers had been running this business since 1994. “We supply cement blocks, crush stones and sand to the market. We also provide services for building and demolishing houses in all parts of the city,” he said.

‘SWEET’ BLOCKS, THIRSTY LOCALS:

Unlawfully using KU land for the business, the paramilitary force has intercepted the main water pipeline of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) to use water for manufacturing blocks.

Due to this puncture in the KWSB water pipeline, the residents of Gulistan-e-Jauhar, residing opposite to KU, have been facing acute water shortage for the last eight years.

“KBW is famous in the area for manufacturing quality blocks by using sweet water,” the supervisor however boasts.

WHO ALLOWED THIS?:

When contacted, the KU administration claimed that they had given a piece of land to Rangers for six months for manufacturing blocks for the construction of its installation in the city, but they started a private construction business and have been running it for eight years now on the varsity’s precious land.

“Permission to Rangers to manufacture blocks was given on request of the then KU security adviser Prof Dr Khalid Iraqi for six months in 2008,” KU External Estate Officer Naeemur Rehman said.

“As the given deadline expired, the then vice chancellor Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui wrote a letter to Rangers high-ups, requesting them to evacuate the varsity land however the Rangers refused to vacate the land,” Rehman maintained.

WHERE DOES THE REVENUE GO?:

Investigation confirmed the Rangers construction business in the city but it is yet to be ascertained as to where the revenue generated by this business ends up. The Rangers depot supervisor claimed that the business is controlled and monitored directly by the Sindh Rangers director general but this could not be confirmed from the Rangers authorities.

RANGERS DILLYDALLY:

When contacted, Rangers officials initially disowned their involvement in any commercial business in Karachi, however they later accepted that the paramilitary force was engaged in construction business to “finance its construction projects in the city and to meet financial expenses of the paramilitary force here”.

Rangers Sindh spokesperson Colonel Tahir Mehmood diverted Pakistan Today’s query to Major Sibtain, saying “I will get back to you on this”.

Major Sibtain initially disowned the business, but later claimed that Rangers were constructing pickets by generating revenue from this business. “Rangers got Rs 300.5 million in the federal PSDP for the construction of accommodation for Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi, but it has not yet received the money,” Maj Sibtain maintained.

Questioned on the paramilitary force’s development budget, Maj Sibtain excused himself saying that he needed to check details with the Accounts Department.

Moreover, the spokesperson dodged a question about the record of the revenue generated through the construction business.

“The paramilitary force is working to bring law and order situation under control by conducting targeted raids and operation in every nook and corner of the city,” he said instead.

News courtesy:Pakistan Today
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