KARACHI: Rangers on Monday informed the administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts about the 90-day preventive detention of a senior Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader for questioning — a move the party described as the continuity of the “anti-MQM policy of the establishment”.

Deputy convener of the MQM’s coordination committee Syed Shahid Pasha was picked up in a Rangers raid on his Gulistan-i-Jauhar apartment in the early hours of the day.

His arrest followed a strong reaction of the MQM, whose London-based convener Nadeem Nusrat called upon the army chief to investigate as to which elements were using “a law enforcement agency for their nefarious designs” against the MQM.

As the whereabouts of the MQM leader were not known, his family on Monday moved the Sindh High Court and a two-judge bench issued notices to the home secretary, provincial police chief and director general of the Rangers to file their respective comments till April 11 in a petition against Pasha’s arrest.

Later in the day, personnel of Rangers along with their legal team produced the detainee Pasha before the administrative judge of the ATCs in Karachi along with an intimation application, detention order and a jail warrant.

They submitted that upon receiving credible information about Mr Pasha’s involvement in offences related to targeted killing, kidnapping and extortion punishable under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, he was put under three-month preventive detention as provided under Section 11-EEEE of the ATA for an inquiry.

They submitted that in order to comply with Section 11-EEEE (3) of the ATA, the detainee was produced along with relevant documents for the information of the court.

The administrative judge directed the provincial authorities to constitute a joint investigation team within 15 days to interrogate the detainee.

Meanwhile, the paramilitary force said in a statement that the suspect would be investigated about targeted killing and other offences.

MQM reaction

The MQM coordination committee strongly condemned the arrest and subsequent three-month detention of Mr Pasha and termed it the continuity of the anti-MQM policy of the establishment.

It said that the establishment did not want to accept the mandate of the people of urban Sindh. “Workers and leaders and elected representatives of the MQM are busy in their clean Karachi campaign, but the establishment is punishing them by arbitrary raids and arrests and false cases.”

The committee appealed to the president, prime minister, army chief and the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of the “use of state institutions” for dividing political parties and order release of Mr Pasha forthwith.

It also appealed to the authorities to stop the raids and arrests of MQM workers, leaders and elected representatives.

Meanwhile, MQM chief Altaf Hussain spoke against the double standard of the law enforcement agencies and said that senior office-bearers and leaders of the party who were not involved in any criminal activity were being arrested in the name of the Karachi operation, but those whose names were mentioned in joint investigation team (JIT) reports were given full protocol and patronage.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2016

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