The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has given a notice of 72 hours to the government to recover its missing workers, supporters and other citizens who are in the illegal custody of law enforcement agencies.
“In whoever’s custody these workers and supporters are, they should either be produced in the courts if there are any charges against them or they should be released,” said the party’s parliamentarian and member of the Rabita Committee, Dr Farooq Sattar, at a press conference at the Khursheed Begum Secretariat on Friday.
Sattar, who was addressing the media when the party had observed their day of mourning to condemn the killing of its four workers, also stated their other two demands.
He appealed to Chief of the Army Staff Raheel Sharif to form an inquiry commission under Karachi Corps Commander to investigate the killing of its four workers. The MQM leader then requested Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to form a judicial commission.
“If our workers are not recovered and our demands are not met, then we will hold peaceful protests across Sindh and hold sit-ins on all major thoroughfares of the province,” warned Sattar.
The party also revealed the details about the arrest and abduction of six of its workers on April 13. Four of these missing workers’ bodies were found on April 30. The MQM has said that the Rangers had aided and provided cover to the plainclothes men who were involved in arresting their activists.
On the night of April 13, the MQM workers were discussing party matters at a snooker club in the apartments of Scheme 33, Gulzar-e-Hijri, narrated Sattar. According to witnesses, a suspicious man was spotted eyeing them for three hours and, after he made a few phone calls, two double-cabin vehicles with plainclothes men arrived at the spot. “The watchman of the apartments fired at them thinking that they were robbers,” said Sattar. “The Rangers van present nearby came immediately and helped the plainclothes men to take away our workers.”
Initially 15 men were arrested, which included six workers and nine supporters. Five of them were released outside the building while 10 were taken to a Rangers checkpost in Sohrab Goth. Six of these activists were then shifted to another vehicle and taken to another location.
“We then received the gift of the bodies of four workers while two are still missing,” said Sattar, questioning the role of the law enforcement agencies in this incident. The MQM leader also pointed out that the bodies found in Memon Goth bore severe torture marks. Later on Thursday, MQM chief Altaf Hussain said that the law of the jungle has been imposed in Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2014.