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Senate panel PPP backs MQM over Karachi operation

Senate panel: PPP backs MQM over Karachi operation

ISLAMABAD: A Senate committee was informed on Wednesday that Rangers had conducted 7,950 raids during the on-going operation in Karachi and arrested 6,361 suspects.

Colonel Qaiser Khan Khattak of Sindh Rangers briefed the Senate standing committee on human rights about the law and order situation in Karachi. The meeting was chaired by MQM Senator Nasreen Jalil.

He said since September 2013, Rangers had conducted 1,313 raids on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s offices, 1,035 raids against the PAC while 28 raids were conducted on the Awami National Party’s offices.

However, the official said in total 7,950 raids, the paramilitary force had arrested 6,361 criminals, terrorists and extortionist out of which 1,313 had been granted bail while only 188 were convicted, adding that 5,518 suspects were released without registration of an FIR.

The Rangers official said there were 1,236 terrorists, 848 target killers, 403 extortionists and 143 kidnappers among the arrested people. He said during investigation, target killers confessed to killing 7,224 people in the city, adding that 30 Rangers were also killed during the operation while 89 injured.

Col Khattak assured the senators that the operation was not directed against any particular political party or group, and the paramilitary force was focusing against criminals, claiming that incidents of kidnapping for ransom, target and sectarian killings and other crimes had fallen by 75% in the city. The Rangers official’s briefing drew a barrage of accusations from MQM’s Syed Tahir Hussain Mashadi and PPP’s Senator Farhatullah Babar.

Senator Mashadi expressed concern over extra-judicial killing and missing workers of the party. He described it as a grave violation of human rights and said it should be addressed. “I am left with only one platform which is the human rights committee where I can raise my voice,” said the senator, adding action should be taken against criminals but targeting a specific party should not be allowed.

The senator said the MQM is a democratic party and has strong roots in the masses; however, he alleged that party workers and its leaders were being picked up by law-enforcement agencies and not being produced before any court.

He claimed that 70,000 workers of the MQM were picked up by the Rangers and terrorism cases were registered against MQM senators and MNAs. Senator Babar recommended that an inquiry should be held into the killing of Dr Farooq Sattar’s coordinator Aftab Ahmed. He was in the custody of the Rangers at the time of his death. The PPP lawmaker went one step further and suggested that the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) should investigate the matter.

“There is a dire need to adopt the Anti-Torture Bill which is already passed by the Senate,” Babar said, who believes that the passage of the bill will go a long way in ending the culture of custodial deaths. The panel recommended setting up a monitoring committee to oversee the progress of the Karachi operation and asked NCHR Chairman Justice (r) Ali Nawaz Chowhan to prepare its terms of reference.

The committee also expressed concern over the recent incidents of kidnapping of children in Lahore. DIG (investigation) Sultan Ahmed informed the senators that the situation was not that critical and termed it media hype. He said during the last six months, 201 children went missing; however, 163 had returned back to their homes. According to the official, during the current month, 36 children went missing from Lahore out of which 24 had returned back while five children were recovered by police. Police have been trying to recover the remaining ones, Ahmed added.

Courtesy : Express Tribune



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