Targeted operation: Karachi shuts down as MQM leader arrested

MQM berates police, claims operation is politicised.

Faraz Khan September 11, 2013
A motorcyclist passes by burning tyres during a city-wide shutdown. PHOTO: INP


The targeted operation in Karachi intensified on Wednesday with the arrest of Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s former provincial lawmaker, Nadeem Hashmi, over his alleged involvement in the murders of two policemen.

After his arrest, parts of Karachi were shut down – and buses stopped running, vehicles were torched and ‘unidentified’ people forced shops to close down.

Hashmi was arrested by the Hyderi police in a raid at his house in North Nazimabad late Tuesday night. A few hours before his apprehension, two policemen, Iqbal Arif and Mohammad Ali, were gunned down within the Hyderi police remits.

An FIR, No. 181/13, was registered under Sections 302 and 397/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act. However, it is said that the police have no evidence of Hashmi’s involvement in the murders.

Hashmi was serving as the chief of the MQM’s North Nazimabad unit. Before that, he had been elected as a Sindh Assembly member in the by-polls held following the death of MQM leader Dr Mohammad Ali Shah.

Hyderi SHO Arif Razzak, who was leading the raid, told The Express Tribune, “The police investigation wing is trying to gather evidence against him. We arrested him as a suspect.”

The former MPA was moved to the Pirabad police station where MQM leaders, including Khawaja Izharul Hassan, also arrived. “There is a nexus of the Taliban and gangsters in Karachi who are responsible for the law and order situation.

But instead of targeting criminals, the operation is being conducted against the MQM,” Hassan claimed while talking to the media outside the police station.

“The efficiency of the law-enforcement agencies has really shocked us. The murder charges are concocted and baseless,” the MQM leader denounced. “The Sindh IG will tender his resignation if allegations made against Hashmi proved wrong!”

Operation “sabotaged”

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) appealed to the prime minister and the federal interior minister to investigate the “sabotaged” Rangers-led targeted operation that is now being conducted against them.

An angry Haider Abbas Rizvi of the party’s Rabita Committee decried the former MPA’s arrest, saying that Hashmi was implicated in a false murder case. “The operation is targeting only us. Since the operation has begun, our activists have been arrested and offices raided,” said Rizvi at a press conference at the Khursheed Begum Secretariat.

“When we asked the police about the arrest, they told us they had orders from ‘highups’ to apprehend the unit in-charge of every area with a high crime rate. The unit in-charge is not the police SHO who is actually responsible for law and order!” bellowed Rizvi.

The MQM had agreed to the targeted operation as the federal government had ensured the party that it would entail apolitical action against criminals, extortionists and banned outfits, he said. “But that the operation is being politicised.”

“We still have scars from previous operations. Our voters are concerned that this operation would end up like the ones in the past in which thousands were killed, injured or missing,” he said with disdain.

Hashmi’s arrest was testing their patience, he reiterated.

Offices of their party leaders, Rehan Hashmi and Jamal Ahmed, were raided and LCD TVs, computers and fax machines were seized. “Should we not call this looting?”

The ruling party reacts

Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani advised MQM leaders to approach the judiciary instead of making strike calls every time there is action taken against their activists.

“The government would register cases against those who created chaos in Karachi today,” he said, while speaking to reporters after holding a meeting with the Russian consul-general Oleg N. Adeev.

“Many of our leaders, including Asif Ali Zardari, were arrested in the past,” he pointed out, adding that they even spent years in jails. “But we did not protest or gave any strike calls to force people to shut their business.”

Durrani admitted the government has given freehand to the police and Rangers.

City shuts down

In the wake of Hashmi’s arrest, parts of the city were deserted as educational institutions, shops and filling stations were closed. Sporadic incidents of arson also took place in the day, in which six vehicles were torched.

Protesters also burnt tyres on in Liaquatabad and blocked the thoroughfare.

Meanwhile, more than 50 suspects were taken into custody during targeted raids. with additional input from rabia ali

Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2013. 


sterry | 9 years ago | Reply

@Jawaid Iqbal: While I would agree that Karachi gets a bad rap in the world because of the violence there, I would not extend your analogy to the rest of Pakistan. Lahore and cities in Punjab have not suffered because people do not give in to demogogues there. In fact, I had a friend visit Lahore from Burma and they spoke glowingly of Lahore and Sialkot so you too should be more tolerant and fair in your commentary. Maybe Karachi and Sind needs a Shahbaz Sharif to bring development and stability. Karachi has a problem for a number of reasons and it should be fixed. Put politics aside and fix the biggest city in Pakistan because the elected officials of Karachi have done a horrible job. By the way, in North America Pakistan has a better reputation than most Muslim countries, especially Arab countries and Iran because of its successful transition to democracy. To be fair, we have to congratulate President Zardari of Sind who made this possible and elevated Pakistan's standing in the world.

Jawaid Iqbal | 9 years ago | Reply

Before slurring on each other read articles about Pakistan in world press. Karachi in particular and Pakistan in general are called cesspool of the world. What a pity that no one gives space to any one. Every body is self-righteous and intollerant of the opinion of others. This situation will never change unless people stop idolating the demagogues and learn to think and talk with reasoning.

In 60s and 70s Pakistan was holding a very respectable position in the muslimworld. In mid 50s its exports were ore than collective exports of Thai Land Malaysia and Phillipines together and dollar was less than three rupee. Indian rupee was equivalent to Rs.0.70. Saudi Riyal's value was less than our rupee. Saudi Arabia requested Pakistan to manage their Finances and a Pakistani named Mohammad Anwar was headed their ministry of finance (his signatures were on Saudi currency). Alomost all the Middle Eastern countries' currencies were printed in Pakistan. Karachi and Punjab Universities were full of Middle Eastern students. People working in gulf countries were paid almost double than the local Arabs. There is an endless list of such glories. Look now where do stand. It all started happening at the time of dictator Zia-ul-Haq who created, pampered and supported parties with varied ethinicity, language, sects etc. and then every thing started falling apart which is going on and there is no end to sight. There is too much to say but..............

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

Most Read