KARACHI: Law enforcement agencies reportedly briefly detained and later released on Saturday two people near the Karachi Press Club, apparently in a bid to stop them from holding a press conference for in support of a detained Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – London leader.
Those reportedly arrested include serving and retired faculty members of Karachi University (KU), Dr Riaz Ahmed and Mehar Afroze Murad respectively. These persons are said to be close friends of Dr Hasan Zafar Arif, the detained MQM leader.
Dr Arif, a veteran leftist, has been incarcerated for his alleged role as a facilitator in cases pertaining to the ‘incendiary and hateful’ speeches of MQM founder Altaf Hussain delivered on different occasions.
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Dr Naveen Haider, a KU teacher, part of the team that organised the presser, alleged that Rangers personnel took her colleagues into custody and shifted them to their headquarters located near the press club.
“Dr Haider said that they wanted to hold the press conference for the release of their long-time companion Dr Arif regardless of his political affiliation. She urged authorities to release him considering his advanced age and deteriorating health.
“We are not linked with any political party. Dr Arif has been our teacher at KU,” she commented, while informing the media about the arrests and the purpose of the press conference to be held.
MQM-London spokesperson Wasay Jalil also denied that the teachers had any link to the party. “They are not part of the MQM. They were holding the press conference on the basis of their relationship with Dr Arif,” he said.
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A few hours after the arrest, Dr Haider confirmed that the teachers had been released after a brief detention during which they were interrogated. “I have talked to Madam Murad myself. She told me that she is fine and heading home,” she said. The release of Dr Riaz, however, could not be confirmed.