MQM calls for peaceful shutterdown strike; Cameraman injured in firing

KARACHI: A heavy contingent of Rangers raided Nine Zero, the headquarters of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in the metropolis in the wee hours of Wednesday.

The law enforcers arrested some party workers, including MQM Rabita Committee member Amir Khan and also claimed to have recovered weapons from the premises of Nine Zero. MQM spokesperson Wasay Jalil alleged a senior party office-bearer, Waqas Ali Shah was killed by Rangers during the raid. Express News cameraman Waseem Mughal who was at Nine Zero among other media personnel has been injured due to firing during the raid.

Rangers Director General (DG) Major General Bilal Akbar has said that MQM activist Shah did not die of gunfire by Rangers personnel. He added that the young man was shot with a TT pistol and the fact would become clear once the medical board’s report is received.

MQM chief Altaf Hussain and other party leaders have condemned the raid and termed it unjustified. The Rangers claimed to have recovered arms from the Nine Zero but MQM leadership said that weapons were licensed.

Unknown people also set tyres on fire at various places of the city. A rickshaw was also torched. The private schools were closed across the city and examinations were postponed. Tense situation prevailed across the city.

Rangers personnel cordoned off the area around Nine Zero and conducted search. They also raided adjoining houses and arrested some MQM activists and leaders.

A large number of MQM workers gathered in front of Nine-Zero soon after the search operation commenced. Slogans were chanted against the law enforcement agencies. Rangers fired aerial gun shots to disperse protesters.

Rangers Spokesman Colonel Tahir, while talking to the media, said arms and ammunition stolen from NATO containers were recovered during the search operation. He said that during the course of the search operation, weapons whose import had been banned in the country were recovered from the Nine-Zero premises.

He disclosed that dozens of suspected party workers had been arrested during the raid, adding that not even a single MPA or MNA of MQM was detained. He however, confirmed that MQM Rabita Committee member Amir Khan had been picked up for questioning

regarding the criminals that had been apprehended from Nine Zero. He stated that Amir Khan will be asked to explain as to why these criminal elements were being sheltered at Nine Zero.

MQM has announced a peaceful shutter-down strike against the overnight raid of party’s central office by the rangers.

After an emergency meeting, the MQM’s Coordination Committee appealed to people to keep their business activities at a standstill and transport off roads today in protest over the rangers raid at Nine Zero.

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