'90' under siege by Rangers
Pakistani paramilitary troops have raided and sealed off the headquarters of political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in the country’s largest and most populous city of Karachi.
According to reports, the paramilitary Sindh Rangers launched the raid on the premises of the MQM in the heart of Karachi, which is located approximately 1,420 kilometers (882 miles) southwest of the capital, Islamabad, on Wednesday.
Colonel Tahir Mahmood of the paramilitary force said soldiers recovered sophisticated weapons and detained a number of people wanted in criminal cases during the operation.
“Five to six men are those who are criminals and we have their record,” he said. “There were certain people who have been awarded death sentences by court.”
Mehmood also called the two-hour raid a “purely information-based operation.” He said the Pakistani paramilitary force had been tipped off that several wanted men were at the MQM headquarters, among them one sentenced to death in absentia for the 2011 murder of a young television reporter.
The MQM denied that the wanted individuals are members of the party, saying that a number of its leaders, including senior leader Amir Khan, have nevertheless been detained. It also called for a nationwide strike in protest against the raid.
MQM politician Aminul Haque said the weapons seized at the headquarters of the political party are properly licensed. He also claimed that the rangers killed an MQM member, identified as Waqas Ali Shah, during the raid.
The MQM, which holds a stranglehold in Karachi, is often accused of extorting money from businesses to bolster its power. Party leader Altaf Hussain is wanted in murder case in Pakistan, and lives in self-imposed exile in the UK.
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