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Waiting for policing powers, Rangers raid MQM offices

By Our Staff Reporter 2016-07-29
KARACHI: While waiting for government`s nod to stay in the province with special powers for operation that began in September 2013, the Pakistan Rangers on Thursday continued to assert the powers they were assigned to restore peace to the city and raided the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) offices in Shah Faisal Colony and Surjani Town.

The paramilitary force picked up a few activists resulting in the cancellation of party meetings, which were scheduled to be addressed by its London-based chief Altaf Hussain, officials and party sources said.

The raids were conducted in the second half of the day when dozens of workers were at the MQM offices in Shah Faisal Colony to listen to the party chief`s speech.

While the MQM came up with the claimabout the arrest of more than half a dozen of its workers, there was no word from the Pakistan Rangers on the action, neither any statement to define the operation of the paramilitary force when the period of their stay and policing powers had already expired.

`Heavy contingent of the Rangers cordoned off the MQM offices in Shah Faisal Colony and Surjani Town where dozens of workers were present to attend regular Tarbiati Nishist,` sources said.

They added: `We are not aware of any arrest but the Rangers were seen taking a few workers along with them and the meetings came to end abruptly. The police of respective areas show unawareness about these episodes.

The Sindh government has not yet come up with any formal announcement about the Rangers stay and powers to operate, but the paramilitary force continued to operateagainst the suspected criminals, hitmen associated with political parties and alleged extortionists, the sources explained.

As the Sindh government insisted that the Rangers had no `constitutional mandate` to carry out actions in any other part of Sindh except Karachi, the paramilitary force had also lost legal cover earlier this month to operate even in Karachi that witnessed surge in criminal and terrorist activities in recent months.

The MQM called the paramilitary force action a `condemnable act`. In a statement, the party`s coordination committee asked the human rights` bodies to take notice of the Rangers` `illegal actions.

`Rangers no more enjoy powers to raid or make arrests,` the party said.

`There is a law of jungle in Karachi. The meetings were scheduled at our Shah Faisal Colony and Surjani Town offices which weredue to be addressed by Altaf Hussain but the Rangers harassed and threatened our workers. The MQM strongly condemns such acts.

The party claimed that the Rangers in Shah Faisal Colony picked up organiser of UC-9 Muhammad Samad, committee member Imran Sarmadi and a worker, Adnan, from the party office. Another raid was conducted on the house of a worker Muhammad Yasir in the area, the MQM coordination committee said and added that the workers in Surjani Town were threatened with dire consequences.

`MQM is a peace-loving and truly democratic organisation,` said the statement.

`Such acts cannot stop it from the struggle of justice, neither they can harass its workers.

We appeal the human rights` bodies to take notice of such illegal acts of the Rangers. We also appeal for immediate release of all workers who were arrested illegally.