Pakistan removes Rangers chief over park killing

Maj Gen Ejaz Chaudhry, head of the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers in southern Sindh province, and Sindh Police chief Fayyaz Leghari were transferred on the orders of the Supreme Court, which has taken suo moto notice of the killing of the youth.

Chaudhry was posted out "in compliance with Supreme Court's orders", a military spokesman said. Leghari's transfer was announced in a statement issued by the Interior Ministry.

The general was transferred after the government sent a letter to the army's General Headquarters with the Supreme Court's order for action against Chaudhry. The Supreme Court had on Friday ordered the transfer of the two top officials within three days.

Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq, the government's top law officer, yesterday said the apex court's order would be implemented. The Sindh government too dropped plans to seek a review of the apex court's order.

Haq advised the government to immediately remove the two officials in line with the court's orders. The apex court issued the order after taking suo motu notice of the shooting and killing of Sarfraz Shah, 18, by Pakistan Rangers personnel in Benazir Bhutto Park in Karachi on June 8.

The court said the two officials should be removed as they could influence investigations. The six Pakistan Rangers personnel and a civilian accused in Shah's killing were yesterday remanded to police custody till June 15 by an anti-terrorism court in Karachi.

A video of Shah's shooting filmed by a TV cameraman was aired repeatedly on news channels, triggering intense anger among the Pakistani public. Shah's family rejected police claims that he was a robber and the footage showed he was unarmed when he was killed.

Shah was killed at a time when the security forces are facing criticism for the gunning down of five foreigners in Quetta and the death of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, who was abducted and killed two days after he alleged that the Pakistan Navy had been infiltrated by Al-Qaeda.

Journalists associations and rights groups have accused the Inter-Services Intelligence of involvement in Shahzad's killing, a charge denied by the spy agency. The powerful army too has been criticised for failing to detect the presence of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a US raid in the garrison city of Abbottabad on May 2.

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