SHC calls comments on detention of Fitra collectors

Petition seeks release of 15 MQM activists held for 'forcibly' taking donations


Our Correspondent July 08, 2015
PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday called comments from the provincial director-general of the Rangers, the provincial police chief and others on a petition challenging the detention of at least fifteen activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) over allegations of forcibly collecting Fitra from the residents of Karachi.

A division bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, also issued notices to the provincial and federal law officers to submit the comments of the law enforcement agencies by July 16.

These directives came on a petition against the alleged illegal detention of the MQM activists by the paramilitary force and seeking the release of the detainees. A relative of one of the detainees had gone to court against the provincial home secretary, the Rangers DG, the Sindh IG, the Central district SSP and the Rizvia SHO.

The petitioner, M Zafar Sultani, said that Rangers personnel had raided the MQM's Awami Rabita Office in the 400-Quarters area of Gulberg-2 on July 1. He stated that his cousin, Farhat Javed, was assisting other volunteers with regard to Fitra donations made by the citizens at the office. The court was informed that the law enforcers took Javed into custody without assigning any reason.

The personnel also detained others, including Adnan, Imtiaz, Zafar Ali, Zubair Ashraf, Shakir Raza, Muhammad Ismail, Hameed Khan, Waseem Siddiqui, Yaqoob Chiragh, Qayyum, Shakir Ansari, Syed Hussain Abbas Zaidi, Nisar and Azmat.

The petitioner alleged that they approached the Rizvia police to seek information about the detainees but the officials refused to entertain their plea. It was stated that the Rangers had unlawfully detained Javed and the others despite the fact that they had no role in any criminal activities.

The court was pleaded to direct the Rangers DG to disclose the whereabouts of the detainees, whose families feared for their safety and security. It was also requested to order the paramilitary force to produce them in court.

The judges issued notices to the respondents for July 16 with direction to the deputy attorney-general and the advocate-general to file the comments of the authorities by the next date of hearing.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2015. 

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