KARACHI: Mohajir Qaumi Movement- Haqiqi (MQM-H) chief Afaq Ahmed has been detained for one month under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance despite being released on bail by the Sindh High Court (SHC).
Section 144 was imposed before the release orders of Ahmed were submitted.
Around 500-1,000 MQM-H supporters, who had gathered outside the Malir District Jail, expecting Ahmed’s release started protesting and blocked the National Highway.
On Monday, Ahmed was granted bail on condition of submitting Rs1 million as a surety bond by the SHC in his last pending case – the murder of an activist of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in 2009.
He was expected to be released from the jail on Wednesday after seven years of his detention, from where he was supposed to visit his father’s grave before going to his house in Landhi.
Who is Afaq Ahmed?
Ahmed, once close to the MQM chief Altaf Hussain, developed differences with him in the 1990s. Following an operation against the party in June 1992, Ahmed and Aaamir Khan led the breakaway faction later called Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi.
The MQM-H established its hold in Liaquatabad, Landhi, Korangi, and New Karachi with the Lines Area sector being their stronghold. These areas were later dubbed ‘no-go areas’ for members, associates or supporters of Altaf Hussain.
The rival factions have long accused each other of killing workers and supporters.
Ahmed emerged as a strong opponent in the late 1990s but in early 2000 was forced to go underground as government agencies launched a search operation against him.
In 2004, when the MQM came into power and Arbab Ghulam Rahim was the then Sindh chief minister, Ahmed was arrested and has been in prison ever since. His headquarters known as the ‘White House’ was razed to the ground, sending a strong signal to the MQM-Haqiqi.
Ahmed still wields influence amongst a section of the Urdu- speaking community. His release may be the beginning of a new friction in Sindh’s politics.