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ISLAMABAD: The federal government deployed the Rangers and Frontiers Corps (FC) personnel at Parliament Lodges, Parliament House and MNA Hostel in a bid to provide foolproof security to parliamentarians amidst reports that some lawmakers could be “kidnapped” ahead of the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

A senior legislator of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) told Business Recorder that the Rangers and FC personnel were deployed for the protection of parliamentarians after JUI-F leaders and workers resisted Islamabad Police action and engaged in a physical brawl with the latter on Thursday night when police entered the Parliament Lodges to remove Ansar-ul-Islam workers from the premises.

“The way the workers of JUI-F resisted police action showed that they had other plans. And reports are surfacing that certain lawmakers could go missing or get kidnapped ahead of voting on the no-confidence motion. So, pre-emptive measures had to be taken”, the insider said.

“Unlike police, the Rangers and FC are paramilitary forces that enjoy good repute in terms of professionalism. Their presence would ensure foolproof security for the legislators”, the source said.

In addition, he said, the security threats after Peshawar terrorist attack necessitated deployment of the two paramilitary forces.

If required, the federal government can also engage military for the security of parliamentarians under Article 245 (1) of the constitution, he added.

This article provides that the armed forces shall, under the directions of the federal government, defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war, and, subject to law, act in aid of civil power when called upon to do so.

The Rangers and FC operate under the administrative ambit of Interior Ministry and their deployment in any area requires the ministry’s instructions. JUI-F General Secretary Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri denied that JUI-F lawmakers had plans to “kidnap” the legislators.

“It’s not us but the federal government that has planned to kidnap lawmakers to deprive them of voting against the PM in the no-confidence motion. We provided our own security to the lawmakers because government did not provide adequate security to the members of Parliament which the government has removed”, he told Business Recorder.

He further stated that the opposition parties hoped the Rangers and FC would not only provide foolproof of security cover but also remain detached from politics. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stalwart and Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Khursheed Shah said it is the duty of federal government to provide foolproof security to lawmakers.

“The security establishment too has a responsibility to ensure that its paramilitary wings are not used for political purposes”, he added.

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Member National Assembly (MNA) Rana Sanaullah said it is too early to comment on whether Rangers and FC’s deployment will help ensure foolproof security.

“We will see what role the security apparatus plays in this entire no-confidence motion. Only then will we be able to judge their role. The paramilitary forces enjoy far better reputation than police in terms of professionalism. They should live up to it”, he added.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid has already announced that government would provide security to every lawmaker who needs it. “If they (opposition) legislators have security issues, they should let us know and we will provide them security”, he told the media earlier on Friday.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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