Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Dr Farooq Sattar was released after being briefly detained on Friday night in Karachi.
Sattar was arrested from the Sharae Faisal area of the metropolis while he was returning from a private wedding function. He was traveling with his protocol, which included guards and his driver. Protocol members were searched and were not arrested.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South Azad Khan had confirmed the arrest. Sattar was briefly detained a day before March 18, the 33rd foundation day of MQM.
However, a spokesperson from the CM House denied that Sattar was arrested by the police. He added that non-bailable warrants for the leader have been issued and he should apply for pre-arrest bail.
MQM-P leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan said the party's course of action will be decided after a meeting of the Rabita Committee.
Heavy police contingents had also surrounded the party's provisional headquarters in the PIB Colony area.
The MQM leader had not applied for a pre-arrest bail in the hate speech case.
An anti-terrorism court (ATC) had also declared the MQM leader as an absconder in multiple cases.
Sattar and the others were charged with listening to, organising and facilitating a speech made by Altaf Hussain in which he railed against the military establishment and security agencies. Hussain was also accused of inciting MQM workers to attack the offices of two media houses in the same speech.
On Aug 22, 2016, the day of the speech, Sindh Rangers had taken Sattar and MQM leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan into custody from outside Karachi Press Club.
The two leaders had intended to address a press conference in connection with the attack on ARY News; however, as they were about to start, Rangers officials arrived at the site and asked both leaders to accompany them to Rangers headquarters.
The two were released after eight hours in custody.