MQM, Rangers trade reproaches over Karachi operation

Published March 3, 2015
MQM on Monday criticised LEAs for raiding party workers’ homes instead of taking action against militants.—Screen grab/File
MQM on Monday criticised LEAs for raiding party workers’ homes instead of taking action against militants.—Screen grab/File
Rangers called the allegation an attempt to ‘damage the ongoing operation for national security’.—AP/File
Rangers called the allegation an attempt to ‘damage the ongoing operation for national security’.—AP/File

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Monday criticised law enforcement agencies for raiding party workers’ homes instead of taking action against banned militant groups, drawing a strong reaction from the Pakistan Rangers which called the allegation an attempt to ‘damage the ongoing operation for national security’.

Senior MQM leaders, speaking at a press conference at the party headquarters Nine Zero, condemned the recent killing of a party worker in Malir and counted a number of activists who were killed by ‘banned militant groups’.

“As if this was not enough, the law enforcement agencies too raid homes of our workers almost daily,” said senior MQM leader Haider Abbass Rizvi.

“Why is only Karachi chosen for killings on sectarian grounds? It appears that militants are free and enjoy the licence to kill. On the one hand our workers are being killed on sectarian grounds by banned outfits and on the other our workers are being arrested in the name of the operation.”

He referred to the killings of MQM legislators over the past few years and particularly mentioned Orangi Town where he said the ‘militants of banned outfits were seen roaming free’ without any fear of arrest.

Earlier, the party’s coordination committee in a separate statement had ‘condemned’ the consistent raids during the past week on MQM workers’ homes. “People of Karachi have always showed their trust in MQM in every elections, the party has contested over the past three decades,” said the coordination committee’s statement. “Under an organised conspiracy, the MQM is always held responsible for violence and bloodshed in Karachi and on the pretext of this accusation, raids on party workers’ homes are still on.”

The statement also carried a list of some 18 workers who have been arrested during raids on their homes since Feb 24, in all districts of the city. All the arrested workers were moved to ‘unknown location’, it added.

Within an hour of the press conference, the spokesman for the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, issued a statement that did not name any party but referred to the ‘consistent allegations by a political party’.

The spokesperson said: “The law-enforcement agencies always take action only against criminals without any discrimination. Frequent allegations by the political party are against the facts, aimed at damaging the ongoing operation for national security. Criminals and terrorist in any garb are prime target of the Rangers’ operation.”

He said the Rangers were carrying out the operation without any political, sectarian and ethnicity consideration. He reiterated that the operation would continue in the same spirit to establish the writ of the state.

“Suspects arrested during the past few days are involved in heinous crimes including targeted killings,” he said.

“Groups which have any sympathy for these criminals must remember that the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh will continue to chase and arrest these criminals to let them meet their logical fate.”

Published in Dawn March 3rd , 2015

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