For the second time in four months, Rangers soldiers swooped down on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) headquarters early Friday, detaining two party leaders for allegedly instigating people against the paramilitary force. The first raid prompted a bitter stand-off between the two sides.
A large contingent of Rangers, which currently enjoys policing powers in the province, arrived at the MQM headquarters Nine-Zero around 2am and arrested MQM Co-ordination Committee In-charge Kaiful Warah and senior leader Qamar Mansoor.
The personnel also searched various offices around the Khursheed Begum Secretariat and seized some documents. All entry and exit points around Nine-Zero had been cordoned off and no one was allowed inside during the operation.
The Rangers contingent completed the raid in about an hour and left the Azizabad locality with both the MQM leaders, who were shifted to an undisclosed location for further questioning.
A Rangers statement confirmed the detention of two MQM leaders and vowed more arrests in the near future. A spokesperson said the two persons were arrested on the charges of arranging and facilitating hate speeches. “In those violence-inciting speeches, officers of Rangers striving for peace in Karachi were targeted, thus inciting violence against the law enforcement agencies of the state,” the statement read. “A list of such facilitators has been finalised and more arrests will be made in the near future.”
Warah was later released on a conditional surety. The spokesperson said the MQM leader would report to the Rangers authorities after the culmination of the given period.
Shortly after the Azizabad raid, Rangers also arrived at the houses of senior MQM leaders Haider Abbas Rizvi and Dr Farooq Sattar in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and PIB Colony, respectively. While they surrounded the houses, no raids were actually conducted. Both leaders were also not present at their homes.
During overnight raids in different parts of Karachi, nearly a dozen more MQM sector and unit workers were also arrested by Rangers.
Sources in Rangers said the names of nearly two dozen MQM leaders, including Dr Sattar, Rizvi, Waseem Akhtar, Saif Yar Khan, Aslm Mumtaz, Tayab Hashmi, Zameerul Haq, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Kazim Raza, Kamran Ahmad, Kamran Usmani, Rehman Hahsmi, Khawaja Izharul Hassan, Abdul Rauf Siddiqui, Aslam Mumtaz, Tayab Hasmi, Salman Mujhaid Baloch, M Arif, Noor Jan Zaidi and Zahida Begum, were included in the to-be-arrested list, as they were named in the FIRs registered against MQM chief Altaf Hussain for criticising the paramilitary force.
Most of the leaders, whose names are on the list, have reportedly gone underground.
In the first raid at the MQM headquarters on March 11, Rangers had detained over 100 party workers, including senior leader Amir Khan, and six alleged target killers and extortionists. Faisal aka Mota, a convicted criminal in a murder of television journalist Wali Khan Babar, was also arrested in the operation.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2015.