KARACHI: In less than a week after Altaf Hussain-led Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), announced its organisational activities in the city, two of its senior leaders — Kunwar Khalid Yunus and Momin Khan Momin — were on Friday detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance.

Following their arrest, the London-based coordination committee of MQM-Altaf said in a statement that Kunwar Khalid Yunus and Momin Khan Momin had been relieved of their responsibilities on account of their poor health.

The Sindh security establishment put both loyalists of Altaf Hussain under house arrest for three months, declaring them ‘threat to peace’ and accusing them of ‘engaging in illegal activities’.

According to a notification issued by the Sindh home department, the action has been taken on the recommendations of the inspector general of police (IGP).

It stated that the provincial police chief in his letter said that Kunwar Khalid Yunus and Momin Khan Momin had been appointed as senior deputy convener and deputy convener, respectively, of the MQM-London on March 2, in a meeting of central coordination committee held at the International Secretariat London.

Citing an ‘intelligence report’ as the basis of his recommendation to put them under house arrest, the letter of the IGP stated the duo had started their ‘illegal’ activities in Karachi to gain foothold in different areas.

Furthermore, as per the intelligence report, the presence of the said persons at any public place “is likely to pose grave threat to the public safety and cause breach of peace and tranquillity”. Therefore, it is “recommended that they may be detained under MPO of 1960 for three months at least”.

“The government of Sindh on the basis of request and considering the merits of the case is satisfied that there is serious apprehensions of public safety in the interest of the country and public and that the presence of Kunwar Khalid and Momin Khan Khan at any public place is likely to pose grave threat to the public safety and cause breach of peace and tranquillity,” reads the home department’s order.

It said in exercise of powers under Section 3 (1) of the Sindh Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, 1960, the government had ‘sufficient reason’ to believe that Kunwar Khalid and Momin Khan Momin “are arrested and detained for a period of 90 days from the date of arrest”.

“Their custody shall be placed under the superintendent of Central Prison, Karachi,” it said, adding: “They shall be at liberty to make a representation to the provincial government against this order.”

Sources said that the order to detain both the leaders was issued by the Sindh government but it was done on the directives of the establishment as it wanted to send a signal to the MQM-Pakistan and other local factions that they were not going to replace them with MQM-Altaf.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2022

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