Rangers seal MQM headquarters Nine Zero, detain party workers

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Sindh Rangers have sealed Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party headquarter Nine Zero in Karachi after party workers turned to violence following directives by MQM Chief Altaf Hussain to surround the offices of Geo News, Samaa and ARY.

Prior to resorting to violence, MQM workers also chanted anti-Pakistan slogans incited by Altaf Hussain who addressed them at the Karachi Press Club (KPC).

Later in the evening, the Rangers launched operations in several parts of the city against the MQM.

A large contingent of paramilitary troops surrounded MQM’s headquarters at Nine-Zero in Azizabad in addition to several party offices in different parts of the city.

They thoroughly searched Nine-Zero, including the Khursheed Memorial Hall, and subsequently sealed the premises.

MQM offices in different parts of the city and the province were shut down while around 50 workers were detained in overnight raids.

High ranking MQM leaders including Dr Farooq Sattar, Khawaja Izharul Hassan, DrAamir Liaquat and Amir Khan were taken into custody.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Central Muqaddas Haider and Sector Commander Rangers Khurrum Shahzad confirmed that Nine Zero has been sealed.

Khurrum Shahzad said that the operation on MQM headquarters had concluded, adding that weapons were also recovered.

He said that five SMGs and two pistols were recovered during the operation. Shahzad said that the recovered weapons would be sent for forensics. He added that MQM’s information department was also sealed.

Earlier, Sindh Rangers’ personnel entered the MQM headquarters, after taking five senior MQM leaders into custody earlier in the day.

According to reports, the detained leaders include Farooq Sattar, Khawaja Izharul Hassan, Arshad Vohra, Khawaja Sohail and Dr Aamir Liaquat Hussain.

The party’s official website has also been shut down.

DG Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar said while talking to media that the law and order situation has been restored in the city upon the directions of Chief of Army Staff. He also stated that the markets and all education institutions in Karachi will remain open Tuesday (today).

– Widespread Condemnation-

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the attack on the offices of ARY, SAMAA and Neo television channels in Karachi on Monday.

“It is an attack on freedom of press and expression,” Sharif said, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office here.

Read more: PM condemns attack on ARY, SAMAA, Neo TV offices

The prime minister directed the authorities concerned at the federal and provincial levels to bring the culprits to task on an immediate basis.

Directing the authorities concerned to ensure safety and security of the civilians in general and journalists, in particular, the prime minister also sought a report on the incident.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said attacks on journalists and news channels were not acceptable.

Meanwhile, former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari also strongly condemned the attack on media houses. He directed the Sindh chief minister to take concrete steps to ensure the security of media houses and journalists. He further directed the CM to take action against the culprits.

Some members of the MQM also distanced themselves from Monday’s violence with the party’s MNA Ali Raza Abidi saying that the incident was condemnable and urged workers to “disassociate yourself from violent mobs sent for a purpose.”

MQM MNA Rashid Godil also condemned anti-Pakistan slogans raised at the Karachi Press Club. “I believe one and only Pakistan comes first. Nothing else,” he wrote on popular micro-blogging site Twitter.

Read more: Altaf goes beserk