KARACHI: Defending the arrest of scores of Muttahida Qaumi Movement activists, the paramilitary Rangers has alleged that MQM’s administrative wing supports the party’s militant activities in Karachi.
The allegation was made in a statement issued on Sunday by the paramilitary force, apparently in reaction to MQM’s strong-worded protest against the arrest of its sector and unit in charges last night.
This is the first time since the Karachi operation began in September 2013 that the Rangers has openly blamed MQM’s Tanzeemi Committee, which looks after all affairs in the party’s organisational setup, for supporting the party’s militant wing.
The Rangers statement was issued hours after MQM’s Landhi sector in-charge Rukunuddin was picked up. MQM’s political wing, the Coordination Committee, condemned the arrest and censured the paramilitary force for ‘restricting its activities’.
“The ‘state-terrorism’ by the Rangers against the party is increasing day by day,” read the party’s statement. “He [Rukunuddin] is the party’s seventh sector in-charge to be detained by the Rangers in the past one week,”
The Rangers spokesperson stated the force was not targeting any particular political party and it was conducting its security operation free of any ethnic, linguistic, religious or political motivation. The statement added that the operation was specifically against militant wings of all organisations. “MQM’s Tanzeemi Committee empowers its militant wing which is why its sector in-charges and unit in-charges are being detained,” it explained.
The paramilitary force claimed that some of these men were also surrendering voluntarily. All arrested men were afforded their legal rights and would soon be presented before a magistrate, the statement read.
Taking strong exception to the claims, MQM’s Coordination Committee demanded the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) take immediate notice of the Rangers statement.
“This is the Rangers admission that the ongoing operation in Karachi is targeting the party not criminals,” an MQM statement said. “The paramilitary force is admitting that the political party’s workers are being picked up, not because there is any evidence of their involvement in crimes and rather because they are members of the MQM.”
The MQM asserted that its political and welfare activities had been practically banned, as the Rangers had turned the whole city into an occupied territory. The party added that the committee mentioned by the Rangers was disbanded a long time ago.
In September last year, MQM chief Altaf Hussain had dissolved the party’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committee on complaints over its inefficiency. Earlier in May 2013 after the last general elections, the committee in-charge, Hammad Siddiqui, was expelled from the party for “violating party discipline”. He is said to be living in Dubai now.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2015.