KARACHI: The Pakistan People’s Party on Saturday accused the Rangers paramilitary force of carrying out extra-judicial killings in Karachi’s troubled neighbourhood of Lyari.
Speaking at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, Member National Assembly and President PPP Karachi Division Abdul Qadir Patel alleged that the paramilitary force was “once again active in picking up innocent citizens and shooting them blindfolded.”
During the past week, two men, Faheem Baloch and Mohammad Katchhi, were picked from outside their homes in Lyari and gunned down by the Rangers, alleged Patel.
He also mentioned the killing of Saqib Baloch alias ‘Boxer’, which he claimed happened during a Rangers operation in Lyari’s Khadda Market on Friday.
Saqib Baloch was popular as a local boxing athlete hailing from Lyari, an old city neighbourhood rife with violence and turf-wars between competing mafia groups and extortionists.
Police claim Saqib ‘Boxer’ was a suspected gangster killed in a joint targeted operation led by police and Rangers personnel in Nayabad area in Lyari on June 28.
However, Patel said the athlete had no criminal background.
“Saqib was not a gangster. He was the nephew of a world famous footballer and a presidential award winner, Ali Nawaz Baloch. Yet, he was picked up from outside his home and killed blindfolded in broad daylight,” said Patel.
When contacted by Dawn.com, spokesperson for the Rangers, Major Sibtain refused to comment on the allegations. “There's nothing to clear up. TV news channels were present during the Rangers operation,” he said.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the largest political party in Karachi, has raised similar allegations in the recent past against the Rangers, accusing them of abducting its party workers and supporters.
Speaking at the press conference, Patel said he did not want to blame an entire force for the acts of a few, “but it seems like we are being provoked.”
Referring to Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah’s speech on the floor of the Sindh Assembly earlier this week, Qadir reiterated the PPP provincial government had little or no control over the Rangers.
“To an extent, it also means that some elements within the Rangers are trying to sabotage the provincial government,” Patel said. He said the Rangers were meant to be a back up force for the city police, and "not vice versa."
When asked about Saqib Boxer’s role in the gang-war plaguing the old Karachi neighbourhood, Patel said that he should have been tried in a court even if he was involved in criminal activities.
“I agree that there is a gang war that plagues Lyari. But who heads the ongoing turf wars in other areas of Karachi?”
Patel, who was the only one speaking throughout the press conference, was flanked by Saqib Baloch’s uncle, Ali Nawaz Baloch, MPA Jawed Nagori and Yusuf Baloch.
Patel urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the Supreme Court to take notice of the extra-judicial murders.
He said that a petition would be filed in the Supreme Court and Lyariites would hold a protest outside the Rangers headquarters in Karachi on July 1.