KARACHI: Usman Moazzam, the secretary-general of Pasban-e-Pakistan, was detained along with his young son, Muhammad, during a raid allegedly conducted by the paramilitary force at his residence late on Sunday night. However, the Rangers have denied any such arrests.
The raid was conducted late Sunday night at around 1:45am at Moazzam's residence in Samanabad. The family claimed that around two dozen Rangers troopers barged into the house. "My husband is innocent," said Moazzam's wife. "Why was he arrested along with Muhammad? What wrong did they do? They should be released immediately."
According to Pasban leaders, Rangers searched the entire house for at least an hour. They accused the Rangers of taking into custody all the mobile phones from the house while leaving. "Electronic media was also there and they saw them [the Rangers]," Pasban's media coordinator Mehmood Khan Tajik told The Express Tribune. "They even misbehaved with the women of the house during the raid."
On the other hand, the Rangers officials denied the arrest when contacted for comments.
Moazzam was Pasban's candidate in the recent by-election in the Azizabad-based NA-246 constituency. His eldest son, Saad Usman, has also been missing since June 11 when he left home for some work. His complaint was also registered at the Samanabad police station.
Pasban leaders vowed to register a case against the Rangers if their leader and his son are not released. They also held a press conference following the arrests.
Read: Pasban leader’s son goes missing
"We did not want to hold a press conference as we wanted not to escalate the issue and bring them back to home," Pasban chief Altaf Shakoor told The Express Tribune. He added that they approached the Rangers but they did not respond. According to him, Pasban has approached the prime minister, president, army chief and Rangers DG and informed them about the incident.
"We are trying to sort out the issue without taking any serious step," he said. "But we will register an FIR against the Rangers if they are not released. We suspect that Saad was also arrested by the Rangers."
During the press conference, Shakoor said they respect the Rangers and law enforcement agencies. "We welcomed the decision of operation in Karachi but instead of eliminating criminals from the city, the Rangers are harassing us for our politics," he said. He added that if the law enforcers had contacted the Pasban leadership, they would have fully cooperated and provided them assistance in inquiring about the party's activities.
Shakoor further raised questions on the way Moazzam and his son were allegedly picked up from their house. "The manner in which the secretary-general of Pasban and his son were picked up from their home was very serious," he said. "The arrests should not have been made in this way."
Shakoor said that if the Rangers have any information about any wrongful activities of a worker or leader of Pasban, the party will cooperate with the law enforcers. "We want a peaceful Karachi," he said. "We will go to any extent for bringing peace to Karachi."
Demanding the release of Moazzam and his sons at once, he requested that the rights of every Pakistani must be respected while conducting the operation in Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2015.