LAHORE: Pakistan Army will launch a special paramilitary crackdown in Punjab, after an Easter Day bombing in Lahore killed 70 people, government and military sources told Reuters on Monday.
The move represents the civilian government once again granting special powers to the military in order to fight militants. The crackdown would give paramilitary Rangers extraordinary powers to conduct raids and interrogate suspects similar to those the Rangers have used for more than two years in Karachi, said a senior security official based in Lahore.
“The technicalities are yet to be worked out. There are some legal issues also with bringing in Rangers, but the military and government are on the same page,” he told Reuters on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to share details of the plan.
One other military official and two government officials confirmed the decision on condition of anonymity.
The army and paramilitary Rangers have launched several raids across Punjab following the deadly Lahore blast, military spokesperson General Asim Bajwa said.
“Number of suspect terrorists and facilitators arrested and huge cache of arms and ammunition recovered,” the DG ISPR said in a tweet that gave no detail.
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif chaired a high-level meeting at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi to review the progress of an operation which began after the deadly attack.