KARACHI: The Paramilitary Rangers conducted predawn raid at Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) headquarters ’90’ in Azizabad on Friday morning, and arrested Rabita Committee member Qamar Mansoor and in-charge Kaiful Warah.
The Rangers initially arrested four MQM leaders – Azeem Farooqi, Sufiyan Yousuf, Kaif-ul-Warah, and Qamar Mansoor. Azeem Farooqi and Sufiyan Yousuf were, however, later released after interrogation while Kaif-ul-Warah and Qamar Mansoor were shifted to some undisclosed location by paramilitary troops, sources said.
The Rangers, in a statement released after the raid, said Mansoor and Warah had been arrested for “arranging and facilitating hate speeches against the peace of Karachi. A list of such facilitators has been finalised and more arrests will be made in near future.
Following the raid, Rangers also reportedly raided the houses of MQM leader Farooq Sattar and Haider Abbas Rizvi. No arrests were made because they were not present at their residences during the course of actions. The paramilitary troops sealed all roads leading to ’90’ before raiding party offices and Khursheed Begum Memorial Hall. The residents were also asked to remain indoors till the end of operation.
Reuters adds: Many fear the showdown may threaten the stability of the financial hub that generates half of government revenue and is home to 20 million people, or upset the delicate balance between the fledgling civilian government and the powerful military, which has a history of coups. The paramilitary Sindh Rangers, which fall under military command, said they raided the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) because the party had been making hate speech.
“Those apprehended tonight … have been arranging and facilitating hate speeches against peace of Karachi,” Director General Sindh Rangers, Major General Bilal Akbar tweeted. Party spokesman Farooq Sattar condemned the raid to party members who gathered to protest afterward. “MQM is the only political party whose head office is being raided by Rangers,” he told the crowd.
Friday’s arrests follow a raid on the same address on March 11, when authorities said dozens of weapons were recovered and a suspect wanted for the murder of a journalist detained. The MQM said the weapons were planted and the suspect smuggled in. Police officials privately accuse the MQM of operating like a mafia to maintain its tight control on power. But the party has always strongly denied being involved in violence.
Source: Business Recorder