KARACHI: The Rangers on Wednesday claimed to have arrested two men, said to be associated with a banned outfit, for their alleged involvement in taking protection money (bhatta).

The paramilitary force conducted an intelligence-based operation in district West and arrested Rasheed alias Khan Baba and Ismail alias Chips Walla.

“The held suspects belonged to a banned outfit and were involved in extortion,” said a Rangers spokesperson, without naming the outfit.

They were wanted by Swat administration and law enforcers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Suspect Rasheed had come to Karachi to avoid arrest, he said.

“He was collecting extortion in Karachi for a banned outfit on the directives of Saifullah and Salman alias Abrar, who were leading the extortion gang from Afghanistan,” said the official.

Suspect Ismail was a resident of Karachi and an “active” member of the banned outfit and worked as a facilitator, the spokesperson said.

Sharing details of the cases against them, a Rangers press release stated that the suspects conducted an armed attack on a shop owned by Asif Rehman in Orangi Town on April 20, 2019 over non-payment of Rs2 million extortion.

The shop owner survived the attack and paid Rs100,000 as protection money to them.

Again in the same area, the suspects demanded Rs10m from Aijaz Afridi, the owner of a car rental company. They sent a coffin and bullets to him and an FIR was lodged at the Mominabad police station in this regard. They used foreign SIMs to make extortion calls.

On Aug 28, 2019 the suspects made a phone call and demanded Rs10m from a junk dealer in Shershah.

The Rangers also seized weapons and ammunition from their custody. The suspects were handed over to police for further legal action.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2020