KARACHI: In a targeted operation early Wednesday morning, Rangers forces carried out a raid at Nine-Zero, the headquarters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in Karachi, with the party claiming that several leaders had been arrested
A Rangers spokesman said a large cache of illegal weapons had been recovered in the “information-based operation” and that several “criminals” had also been arrested. MQM leaders claimed Rangers forces had conducted a “siege and search operation” at the party’s headquarters, ransacked its offices and had arrested several leaders of the political party.
In a statement issued hours after the start of the operation, the MQM’s Raabta Committee said Rangers personnel had forcefully raided and ransacked the MQM’s head office. The party said that several members had been arrested, including central leaders Amir Khan, Abdul Haseeb, Dr Saleem Danish, Arshad Hussain, Dr Ayub Sheikh, and Sindh Assembly lawmaker Rehan Zafar.
Speaking to the media, Rangers spokesman Colonel Tahir said a large cache of weapons – including illegal weapons – had been recovered in the “information-based operation”. “We showed you the weapons. Some illegal weapons are those which cannot even be imported into Pakistan. We suspect that these weapons may be those from missing Nato containers,” he said. He said that several people had been arrested, including five to six suspects who were known to have criminal records.
He, however, claimed that no MQM lawmaker had been arrested, and that MQM senior leader Amir Khan was only kept in custody to explain “the presence of criminal elements” with him. “This office will soon be sealed by the police. We are still carrying out search operation of the surrounding area and will share results with you after we have completed our investigation,” said the Rangers spokesman.
He said that 10 to 12 other people had also been arrested on suspicion, but reassured that they may be released after investigation. In a press statement released by the party, the MQM announced that it would observe a “day of peaceful protest” on Wednesday, and urged transporters and traders to keep their businesses and commercial activities suspended.
The party said that several members had been arrested, including central leaders Amir Khan, Abdul Haseeb, Dr Saleem Danish, Arshad Hussain, Dr Ayub Sheikh, and Sindh Assembly lawmaker Rehan Zafar. The Raabta Committee also urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take immediate notice of the incident. Speaking to Geo News earlier, MQM leader Farooq Sattar said that such an operation at a political party’s head office was “inappropriate and beyond understanding”.
“MQM has itself always maintained its policy of zero tolerance against crime and terrorism, and it has always offered to cooperate,” he said. Sattar said such actions were “perplexing” and were meant to “push a peaceful political party against the wall”. The MQM leader further claimed that such actions by the Rangers force were meant to “sabotage the national consensus”.