An anti-terrorism court (ATC) has extended the physical remand of 38 leaders and workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), facing charges of arson attacks, treason, murder and attempt to murder, till August 30.
The judge directed the investigation officer (IO) on Friday to bring the suspects, including MQM leaders Qamar Mansoor, Kunwar Naveed and Shahid Pasha, to the August 31 hearing.
On Thursday, the accused had been remanded for a day, and when they appeared on Friday the IO sought an extension of their physical remand by 14 days.
The court however declined the plea and extended the physical remand for two days.
At this, Rangers’ prosecutor Mushtaq Jehangiri requested the judge to further extend the remand on the grounds that the accused were involved in two cases pertaining to charges of murder, treason, arson and other heinous crimes.
He contended that the defence lawyers were being given a chance to plead the case of the defendants and the investigators should be granted at least one week’s physical remand of the accused.
The Rangers prosecutors expressed his reservations over the court decision to grant only two-day physical remand of people involved in acts of terrorism.
The court, considering the plea, ordered the accused to be kept in custody for more five days.
MQM leader Kunwar Naveed stated that he and his comrades were not present at the August 22 meeting where anti-state slogans were chanted.
The suspects were allegedly involved in Monday’s attack on a private news channel’s office, chanting anti-state slogans and rioting in front of the Karachi Press Club during which a passer-by was killed near Fawara Chowk.
Coming to attend Thursday’s hearing, the suspects had chanted the slogans of “Pakistan Zindabaad, Pak Army Zindabad, DG Rangers Zindabad”. They repeated those slogans on Friday.
The workers had been taken into custody over allegations of ransacking the office of a private TV channel after being incited to violence allegedly by the MQM founder. Eight people were also injured during the violent attacks.