Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain allegedly congratulated target killers on the murder of two members of the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) in Karachi's Orangi Town area, a Pakistan Rangers Sindh spokesperson said in a press conference Wednesday.
During the press conference, Sindh Rangers' Col Qaiser Khattak announced the arrest of the suspected target killers and revealed their alleged links to the London wing of the MQM.
The arrested men, identified as Mohammad Raheem and Mohammad Danish, allegedly gunned down two PSP workers named Abdul Majid alias Nadeem Maulana and Arshad alias Laal Khan in a suspected targeted attack in Orangi Town on July 17.
The Rangers spokesperson said that the alleged killers had been informed of the targets a month ago.
The suspects rode by on a motorbike and shot down the two political workers, Col Khattak told the press briefing. He added that the suspected shooters had accomplices nearby who have not yet been arrested.
The Rangers spokesperson said that the suspects had confessed to their crimes, named a few of their accomplices and also admitted that they were responsible for spreading anti-state propaganda that incited hatred against "Pakistan Army and law enforcing agencies". They were also responsible for writing pro-Altaf slogans on Karachi's walls.
The Rangers spokesperson said that special teams had been formed to arrest the suspected target killers, who had been picked up and were identified by an eyewitness. He added that the weapon and bike used in the murder were also recovered.
An audio recording of a message retrieved from the arrested men and allegedly sent by the MQM founder was played during the press conference. In the audio clip, a man can be heard congratulating the suspected target killers for "a successful event".
According to the Rangers spokesperson, the suspected target killers were contacted via WhatsApp by a man named Abdullah from South Africa. Col Khattak added that on July 20, Rs50,000 was transferred to one of the suspects' account.
The colonel claimed that MQM London workers in Pakistan were planning to kill political leaders and workers on the orders of Altaf Hussain, Nadeem Nusrat, Qamar Teddy and Abdul Rashid alias Babu Bihari.
He added that the paramilitary force had strong leads on the murders of policemen earlier this year and that an investigation is ongoing.
"The people of Karachi will soon hear more good news," he promised.
He claimed that the Rangers would soon catch the culprits, adding that Karachi's law and order situation is a lot better than it was in the past.
"The city is not facing an alarming law and order situation anymore," he said, adding that times when a phone call would lead to a shut down of the city are long gone.
"Any plans to disrupt Karachi's peace will be foiled," the colonel claimed.
The Rangers spokesperson also said that the paramilitary force is aware of several banned organisations operating from Afghanistan.
"We have arrested many terrorists," he told the media. "Many are on the run but we will catch them soon."
In the end, he said he wanted to "give a message" to Karachi's youth. He asked young people to stay away from "extremist elements" in London, South Africa or any other country which is "openly against the state of Pakistan", and to abstain from involvement in heinous crimes and the murder of innocent citizens as "it will result in serious consequences for not only those involved but also for their families".
'Alarming that S. African, British soil used to plot attacks in Karachi'
"It is alarming that South African and British land is being used to plot terrorism and bloodshed in Karachi," Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said after he was briefed about the arrests of the alleged target killers and their association with MQM London by Director General (DG) Sindh Rangers Major General Mohammad Saeed.
The interior minister lauded the Rangers' efforts to uphold peace in Karachi and told the DG Rangers to send a detailed reference report to the interior ministry.
He added that the ministry would raise the issue with both countries' governments with complete evidence.