KARACHI: Detained Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) worker Umair Siddiqui has been involved in 120 target killings, Rangers asserted on Saturday. Siddiqui allegedly also confessed that MQM Sector In-charge Rehman Bhola was the man behind the deadly 2012 Baldia Town fire that consumed at least 258 factory workers.
Rangers personnel had presented a report to the Sindh High Court in February this year which revealed that the MQM had set the factory ablaze. The information had been disclosed by suspect Mohammad Rizwan Qureshi, an alleged worker of the MQM, on June 22, 2013 during joint investigation of the factory inferno.
In a press release issued today, the Rangers spokesperson said that Siddiqui, who was presented in an Anti-Terrorism Court today, confessed to being given the task of killing those that opposed the MQM.
The accused allegedly received orders to form a team of target killers which included 23 MQM members belonging to various units. The said team was involved in the killing of approximately 120 people that opposed the party.
The orders were issued by Hamad Siddiqui, a member of MQM's Karachi Tanzeemi Committee, the press release stated.
Umair Siddiqui and his team of target killers also allegedly murdered the Rangers' Lance Naik Shaukat. Siddiqui was also involved in the murders of former senator Faisal Raza Abidi's guard and MQM representative Amir Khan's nephew Sabihullah. Another MQM worker Tahir alias Nadeem SP was also murdered by the team, the press release said.
During interrogation, the suspect revealed that in 2008, MQM's Deputy Convener Anees Qaim Khani held a meeting at Khurshid Memorial Hall to speed up target killings on a linguistic basis.
The suspect also revealed that he used a dealer in Quetta to procure weapons for MQM's armed wing. In one instance he confessed to buying 40 Kalashnikovs, 8 LMGs, 1 rocket launcher, 6 G3s, 5 China rifles and 3 MGs.
He went on to claim that in February 2015 all sector in-charges were directed to return their extra weapons to Nine-Zero to prevent being found during raids. The said weapons were allegedly transferred from one area to another with the help of ambulances.
The suspect further confessed that approximately 250-300 target killers reside, or are in hiding, in the neighborhoods surrounding the MQM headquarters.
|MQM worker Umair Siddiqui - DawnNews screengrab|
In the 2013 elections, on the orders of the suspect, 60-70 party workers in Gulistan-e-Jauhar submitted fake votes in favour of MQM candidate Faisal Subzwari at the polling stations which were situated in the Maymar sector, the press release stated.
For this purpose, a day before the elections, the presiding officers were called to the sector office and were made to agree to the fake votes, Siddiqui allegedly confessed. He added that in every polling station, 15-20 boxes full of fake ballots were given to the presiding officers.
The suspect was turned over to the Rangers on physical remand for 90 days.
'MQM being maligned'
MQM Chief Altaf Hussain said Saturday that the party was being deliberately maligned and targeted, while other criminals roamed free. He asserted that false statements were being coerced out of those arrested by the Rangers.
The MQM supremo also disassociated himself from Umair Siddiqui.
"Who is he?" Altaf questioned, adding that the suspect should be hanged if he is found to be guilty.