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Rangers` chief told to arrest MQM-P`s Farooq Sattar & Amir Khan

By Ishaq Tanoli 2017-05-17
KARACHl: An antiterrorism court on Tuesday directed the director general of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, to arrest and produce in court Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan chief Dr Farooq Sattar and senior leader Amir Khan in two cases pertaining to sedition, anti-state offences and attack on media houses following the Aug 22, 2016 incendiary speech of party founder Altaf Hussain.

The ATC-Il judge sent a letter to the Rangers` DG, Maj Gen Mohammad Saeed, along with non-bailable warrants for the arrest of the two leaders, directing him to arrest and produce them in court on May 31 without fail.

The court observed that despite several directives police were unable to arrest Dr Sattar and MQM-P`s senior deputy convener Amir Khan.

Declaring it a most urgent matter, the judge asked the Rangers chief to keep it as his top priority.

The court directive to the chief of a paramilitary force to arrest absconders appears to be the first one.

The court mentioned in the letter that both cases were fixed for May 15 for report of non-bailable warrants of absconders, but police failed to execute the warrants.

The ATC has repeatedly been issuing warrants for the arrest of the MQM leaders since October last. However, the police on almost every hearing told the trial court that the leaders went into hiding and warrants could not be executed.

However, the court rejected the police reports and came down hard on police officials, telling them that the absconders were easily accessible to media and appearing on TV channels almost on a daily basis.

In February, the court had also directed the authorities concerned to place the names of Dr Sattar and two other party leaders on the Exit Control List. MOM founder Altaf Hussain has already been declared a proclaimed offender and the court had also directed the interior ministry to approach Interpol for the issuance of a red warrant against him.

The two cases were registered at the Artillery Maidan police station after a highly provocative speech of the MQM founder on Aug 22, 2016 outside the Karachi Press Club that triggered a violent protest and ransacking of media houses in which a passer-by was killed and several others were injured.

Initially, the police had arrested MOM leaders Kanwar Naveed, Qamar Mansoor, Shahid Pasha and Gul Fraz and around 50 party workers. Later, Mr Naveed and Mr Mansoor were released on bail.

Police had shown almost the entire leadership of the MQM as absconders in the charge sheets.

The first FIR was lodged under Sections 123-A (condemnation of the creation of the state and advocacy of abolition of its sovereignty), 124-A (sedition), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code, read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.