A week after he met representatives of the Pakhtun community in the metropolis, the director general of Rangers met a Baloch Jirga on Saturday and appealed to the Baloch people to keep an eye on anti-state and criminal elements in their neighborhoods. With the already haphazard and complex power dynamics in place, is it wise to introduce a new player onto the already crowded stage? Do we need more ethnic confusion?

According to a Rangers’ statement, the jirga not only appreciated their operation in Karachi but also assured the paramilitary force of their support. The Rangers DG expressed to them that the Karachi operation is going on indiscriminately and ‘showed his resolve to continue it till its logical end’. But aren’t there more pressing concerns to address with regards to the Jirga, like instability in Balochitan, separatism and the recent treats to educational institutes in Balochistan? Do the Rangers think that the Jirga can solve the militancy problem in Karachi, in the face of the fact that they have not been able to take the city’s biggest party on board? How will this go down with the MQM and the PPP? They will see this as a divide-and-rule type of a policy and will only lead to greater dissent from the dominant parties.

If one examines the overall methodology of the Karachi operation, particularly in recent months, it appears that judicial procedure — howsoever questionable and patchy — is for those criminals associated with political parties, and ‘encounters’ are mostly the fate of suspected militants linked with banned organisations. The Karachi operation is unlikely to succeed until political and state patronage to criminals and terrorists is removed completely. What is needed is a long term sustained security and political effort that targets all guilty parties including militant factions of the political parties. The situation is further complicated with strong presence of terrorists groups including sectarian ones who have affiliation with the ruling party. Success lies in developing team work and focusing on coordination between the parties and Rangers. It is more about strengthening ties, rather than creating more power gimmicks.