KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed the Karachi Central Jail authorities to allow meetings between detained Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) workers, arrested from the party headquarters in a raid on March 11, and their families.
A division bench, headed by Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, passed this directive while disposing of a petition against the detention of the MQM workers, including party leader Amir Khan, by the Rangers during the pre-dawn raid at Nine Zero in Azizabad.
The petition was filed by Gulfaraz Khan, a member of the MQM Coordination Committee, who alleged that the Rangers had illegally detained the party workers.
During Tuesday's proceedings, Rangers law officer Major Ashfaque Ahmed filed a report, stating that the paramilitary force had carried out the raid after receiving information about the presence of criminals and a huge cache of weapons in the vicinity of the MQM headquarters.
Major Ahmed said that 108 persons were arrested during the raid, while a large quantity of arms was seized. "Out of the 108 detainees, 26 suspects were found to be involved in possessing illegal weapons and explosive material, whereas 23 others were released and 59 were detained for 90 days under Section 11EEEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997," he explained.
The officer added that the joint investigation team reports of the suspects were being prepared.
The two judges took the Rangers' report on record and directed the Karachi Central Jail authorities to allow the detainees' families to meet them in accordance with prison rules.
The police report
On April 6, the Zone West DIG had informed the high court that the Rangers had arrested the MQM workers in the raid, while the police's role had only been to assist them.
In his report, the DIG had also submitted that the apprehended suspects had been produced before the relevant court of law to enable their detention for 90 days in line with the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance. Thereafter, 26 cases were registered under Section 23-i(A) of the Sindh Arms Act, Sections 4 and 5 of the Explosives Act and Section 7 of the ATA on the complaint of Rangers officials from the Sachal Wing-73 at the Azizabad police station.
The police officer claimed that all of the detainees had been arrested in accordance with the law and there was, therefore, no cause for the petitioner to file his plea. The judges also took the police report on record.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2015.
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