Sunni Tehreek chief taken into custody

Bilal Saleem Qadri detained during raid in Madina Colony, Baldia Town


Faraz Khan February 19, 2017
Undeterred by Bilal Saleem Qadri's arrest, activists belonging to Jamaat Ahle Sunnat began their rally from Arambagh. However, they were stopped by a heavy contingent of the police at Sindh Secretariat Chowk. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD AZEEM

KARACHI: Bilal Saleem Qadri, the chief of Sunni Tehreek’s (ST) Saleem Qadri faction, was taken into custody by the police on Sunday.

The party leader was kept under detention at Madina Colony Police Station as the provincial home department has imposed Section 144 for 15 days, banning all kinds of rallies, processions and protests, particularly on MA Jinnah Road and Tibet Centre in District South. The decision to impose Section 144 was taken in the wake of looming terrorist threats.

He was detained hours before the Jamaat Ahle Sunnat was preparing to organise a rally against the deadly bombing at the shrine of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan Sharif on Thursday. Jamaat Ahle Sunnat is an alliance of different Sunni groups; ST is part of this alliance.

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The party condemned the detention of its leader and demanded his immediate release. Bilal was supposed to lead the rally from Arambagh to the CM House. Undeterred by his arrest, activists belonging to the alliance began their rally from Arambagh. However, they were stopped by a heavy contingent of the police at Sindh Secretariat Chowk, from where they were not allowed to proceed.

"We are here,” said Salman Qadri, the spokesperson of Jamaat Ahle Sunnat. “Negotiations with the authorities are underway. Let’s see what happens. He is likely to be released soon."

According to Salman, they demanded of the government to restore military courts and to spread the Rangers operation across Sindh. He further demanded the reopening of the closed shrines with enhanced security.

Meanwhile, the police confirmed detaining the local leader. "Bilal Saleem Qadri has been detained as a ban has already been imposed on carrying out rallies and processions following the recent deadly bombing in Lahore during a protest," said Baldia division SP Asif Razzak.

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