KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has accused the paramilitary force of 'picking up' 13 of its activists in the past two days and it wants them to declare these arrests openly.
Since Tuesday, 13 MQM activists have been arrested by the Rangers, the party's deputy convenor Nasir Jamal told The Express Tribune. Six of them were arrested on Wednesday from the Korangi and Defence-Clifton sectors.
The party had never demanded the Rangers release their men, he clarified. It only wants the paramilitary force to bring them to the courts and let the law decide their fate, he added. "If the workers are guilty of crimes as the LEAs claim, then why is it that they are not brought before the courts, are convicted or awarded punishment?"
Since the targeted operation started last September, dozens of party workers have been arrested, tortured and harassed, said Jamal, claiming these men are being arrested without any proof. "Our men are being taken away and brutally tortured in the custody of the LEAs," he said. "Some of them have died and others have landed in hospitals."
The MQM leader said there are no reports on the whereabouts of those who were picked up by the LEAs in the past year. The families of the missing persons come to Nine Zero, the MQM headquarters, and pressurise them into telling details but the party has no information to share, he added.
Meanwhile, the MQM also claimed that Nadeem and Imran, whose arrests were disclosed by the Rangers on Tuesday, were party workers from their Qasba-Aligarh unit. This is the only arrest in the last two days which the Rangers have accepted. They claimed that the activists of a political party were involved in killings, robberies, extortion and used to fund foreign-based criminal groups.
As the families of the two arrested workers protested outside Karachi Press Club on Tuesday night, the Rangers sent out a statement to the media saying that certain sections of the media were dramatising the hue and cry behind this arrest. The media is requested to ignore such cheap tactics used by such groups to hide their crimes, it said.
The Rangers also said that they will not release these criminals until the completion of the due process of law, and clarified that it was not a case of missing persons.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2014.