Rangers announce ‘conditional’ release of MQM leader

Updated July 17, 2015

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A contingent of Rangers paramilitary force raided Nine Zero on early Friday morning. —DawnNews Screengrab
A contingent of Rangers paramilitary force raided Nine Zero on early Friday morning. —DawnNews Screengrab

KARACHI: Rangers announced the release of Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Rabita Committee member Kaiful Warah on Friday evening. He was arrested earlier in the day when Rangers raided the MQM headquarters Nine Zero.

The spokesperson of paramilitary force, which currently enjoys policing powers in the province, said that the MQM leader has been released on sureties till Eidul Fitr. “He will report to the Rangers authorities after the culmination of given period.”

In the wee hours of Friday, a contingent of Rangers paramilitary force raided Nine Zero, the headquarters of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), in Karachi's Azizabad neighbourhood and detained two members of MQM's Rabita Committee. This is the second raid by Rangers on Nine Zero this year.

According to television reports, Rangers personnel surrounded Nine Zero and cordoned off all entry and exit points leading to the area.

MQM spokesman Wasay Jalil in a tweet said Rangers personnel detained MQM's Rabita Committee member Qamar Mansoor during the raid.

Another MQM leader, Senior Deputy Convenor Nadeem Nusrat confirmed in a tweet that personnel from the paramilitary force also detained Rabita Committee member Kaiful Warah during the raid.

According to a press release issued by Sindh Rangers, Qamar Mansoor and Kaiful Warah were arrested from Azizabad on the charges of "arranging and facilitating hate speeches against the peace of Karachi".

The officers of Sindh Rangers have been targeted in "those violence inciting speeches", it said.

"A list of such facilitators has been finalised and more arrests will be made in near future," said the handout.

Rabita Committee member Kaiful Warah was detained by Rangers during the raid. —DawnNews Screengrab
Rabita Committee member Kaiful Warah was detained by Rangers during the raid. —DawnNews Screengrab

Rangers personnel also entered the Khursheed Memorial Hall at Nine Zero where, according to reports, they carried out a search operation before leaving Nine Zero.

According to a statement published on the MQM's website, Rangers personnel searched various offices and also took away several documents with them.

DG Rangers says detentions over 'hate speech'

Rangers Director General Major-General Bilal Akbar in a tweet posted early on Friday said those detained from Nine Zero "have been arranging and facilitating hate speeches against peace of Karachi".

A Rangers spokesman earlier confirmed to Dawn that the Twitter account @Bilalak80 was in fact the Twitter account of the Rangers DG.

The raid comes days after MQM chief Altaf Hussain criticised Rangers and accused the latter of violating the army code of conduct. Hussain alleged that the Rangers' role had taken on a political hue and asked if the army code of conduct allowed them to issue a charge-sheet against a political party.

This speech, made last Sunday, was apparently in response to media reports that quoted Rangers sources as saying that the paramilitary force was going to release a factsheet in a couple of days about the March 11 raid on Nine Zero.

Examine: With 30-day police powers, Rangers see no time frame for Karachi operation

Rangers personnel also entered the Khursheed Memorial Hall at Nine Zero where, according to reports, they carried out a search operation before leaving Nine Zero. —DawnNews Screengrab
Rangers personnel also entered the Khursheed Memorial Hall at Nine Zero where, according to reports, they carried out a search operation before leaving Nine Zero. —DawnNews Screengrab

MQM condemns raid

MQM's Rabita Committee held an emergency press conference after the raid during which the party "condemned in strongest terms" the raid by Rangers.

Speaking at the press conference, MQM leader Farooq Sattar stressed that the party is being alienated.

"If any political party is isolated, the results of that are never positive," Sattar said.

MQM leader Barrister Saif said the party "condemns the detainment of MQM coordination committee members Kaiful Warah and Qamar Mansoor".

The committee called for the immediate release of detained MQM members, he said.

MQM Chief Altaf Hussain strongly condemned the raid, saying it was in violation of international laws.

"For the accomplishment of which goals are Muhajirs being cornered?" Altaf questioned, said a statement on MQM's website.

According to the statement, Altaf also asked if it wasn't in violation of Islamic values "to deprive the oppressed people of Islamic Republic of Pakistan from the celebrations of Eid".

Altaf urged party loyalists to remain calm, saying "the forces of evil would soon seen exemplary defeat like the past".

MQM leaders during an emergency press conference after the raid. —DawnNews Screengrab
MQM leaders during an emergency press conference after the raid. —DawnNews Screengrab

After the raid, MQM supporters and workers reached Nine Zero where they chanted slogans to protest the raid.

Earlier on March 11, Rangers personnel raided the headquarters of MQM. The raid appeared to have symbolic significance in the Karachi operation that has been underway since October 2013.

Also read: Rangers raid MQM HQ in Karachi, detain member of Rabita Committee

A number of party workers, including member of MQM's Rabita Committee Amir Khan, were detained during the pre-dawn raid which prompted a protest by party activists and a subsequent call for a day of "peaceful mourning" across the country.