For the first time in the city’s recent history, a political party was directly and explicitly named for its involvement in violence. The Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, blamed the Muttahida Qaumi Movement – not ‘unidentified suspects’ – for possessing Indian-made illegal weapons and one of its members for the killing of a public prosecutor.
On Tuesday, the paramilitary force raided the MQM Landhi office and seized an Indian-made light machine gun (LMG), submachine guns (SMGs) and rifles, said the Rangers spokesperson. They also found CCTV cameras, which the “criminals had installed to monitor law-enforcement agencies”.
The MQM denied that any Indian-made weapon was recovered from its office. In a press statement, the party demanded the president and the prime minister take notice of the matter.
The Rangers spokesperson also said that two target killers, Shamim alias Goli and Sajid Hussain were also arrested along with 12 others from Landhi.
He lashed out at the MQM for an earlier press conference where the party leader condemned the raids. “The press conference by a political party is a failed attempt to mislead citizens. Prohibited Indian military weapons recovered from the so-called office are proof that criminals and anti-state elements exist in political parties,” according to the Rangers official statement.
Responding to accusations made in the MQM press conference, the spokesperson said they would never loot office equipment and write abusive wall chalking. He alleged that some party members must have done that. “Such accusations would not stop us from fighting terrorism and crime.”
The Rangers have carried 1,000 operations so far across the city, he added.
Earlier, leaders of the MQM had slammed the Rangers for raiding their party office and demanded a halt to what they called ‘illegal raids’.
“Is Altaf Hussain being punished for supporting the operation? We were assured that no office of political parties would be raided,” MQM lawmaker Sagheer Ahmed said at a press conference held at the Landhi party office which was raided by the Rangers.
Ahmed declared that the MQM had been targeted ever since the operation began. “Are such raids making the crime rate go down? How can such an operation be successful if the Rangers carry on with their illegal raids?”
Wali Babar case: MQM member caught
City police chief Shahid Hayat announced that the death of former Anti-Terrorism Court public prosecutor Naimat Ali Randhawa was a “politically motivated targeted killing.”
Speaking at a press conference at the Central Police Office on Tuesday, he said, “We have arrested an MQM activist, Syed Kazim Abbas Rizvi, along with three others who killed Randhawa because he was going to take up the case of slain television reporter Wali Babar Khan.” The murder was not sectarian in nature, he added.
Randhawa was shot dead on Thursday night while he was on his way home. His son, Tauqeer Ali Randhawa, was also injured in the attack by armed motorcyclists.
Additional IG Hayat said the arrest was made with the hectic efforts of the police and Rangers. However, a police press release issued over Rizvi’s arrest stated that he was arrested after he was stopped in the Gizri area over suspicion. During the initial interrogation, Rizvi confessed to his involvement in the killing, the press release added. Besides Randhawa’s murder, Rizvi was also involved in seven more cases of targeted killings.
Responding to a question, the Karachi police chief said the police have also traced the culprits who were behind the target killing of Wali Babar Khan’s eyewitness, Haider, and assured that they will be arrested soon.
“We are conducting raids wherever we’re getting information about, be it Azizabad or Lyari,” he explained. “We have the support of all political parties as they are against the criminal elements within their parties.”
On targeted killings in city, he said there was a massive decrease in the incidents and around 50 target killers belonging to different groups have been arrested so far.
In a separate press statement, the MQM rejected police claims of the party being involved in the murder of Randhawa.
The additional IG was wrong in claiming that MQM activist Kazim Abbas was picked up last night, it said. “He has been in police custody for the last several days; he was arrested on September 27 from his house. The whole neighbourhood is a witness to that.”
Meanwhile, a party leader told The Express Tribune that concerns regarding the operation had been conveyed to the federal government and they believed that the Sindh government was behind the targeted raids against them.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2013.