My arrest was a distraction to avoid going after target killers: JSQM chief

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Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) Chairman Bashir Khan Qureshi claimed on Wednesday that his recent arrest by the Pakistan Rangers-Sindh personnel was aimed at painting the search operation in a controversial light to avoid taking action against target killers.
Talking to journalists during his visit to the Karachi Press Club after being released on bail, Qureshi said the paramilitary force wanted to disarm him as part of a conspiracy so he could be assassinated.
He said, “I reserve the right to protest and am not afraid. I shall approach the Supreme Court to recover my licensed weapons that were confiscated.” He also said he was prepared to sacrifice his life as Sindh’s leaders have always sacrificed their lives for the country. “However, Bashir Qureshi would prove to be more dangerous dead than alive,” the JSQM chief added. He said the Rangers had intercepted him on several occasions and allowed him to go every time after checking his arms licences. However, he added, he was never arrested for possessing the same licensed weapons on any of those occasions. Qureshi said no raids have been conducted in the no-go areas of the city during the operation, but Gulshan-e-Hadeed – where the JSQM chief lives – was condoned off and raided, even though not a single case of targeted killing has been reported in the area.
He said besides raiding his residence, the Rangers personnel checked the houses of only Sindhi, Urdu-speaking and other communities, but not of the Punjabi residents.
He also said not a single complaint has been reported against him during his political career regarding his involvement in extortion or encroachment.
He further said the ongoing operation is producing no considerable results and no noteworthy target killer has been arrested yet.
Instead, he added, criminals are being provided an opportunity to escape when the operation is widely publicised.
The JSQM chief said, “It seems that the reconciliation policy has also been adopted for the search operation.”
Signs have surfaced during the apex court’s suo motu proceedings on Karachi violence regarding the presence of militant elements in the ranks of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the Awami National Party and the People’s Amn Committee, he added.
He said over 3,000 people have fallen victim to targeted killing in the metropolitan during the past year and their cases have also been registered.
If the law enforcement agencies have taken action on these cases, they should inform the citizens of it, he added.
Qureshi said MQM chief Altaf Hussain and other political leaders have termed the violence and killings in the city as “a war among different ethnic groups to control Karachi”.
However, he added, the Sindhi population has no need to be a part of such a war as history has granted them the right of ownership on Karachi.
He regretted that the Sindhi population had accepted the people who arrived in the province from India and other parts of the subcontinent; however, the Sindhi people themselves are suffering more difficulties in their own province.