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March 12, 2015

Rangers raid Nine-Zero, recover Nato weapons, military gear

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March 12, 2015

KARACHI: The Sindh Rangers early on Wednesday morning raided the Muttahida Qaumi Movement headquarters, Nine-Zero, and other offices and arrested several convicted and wanted criminals as well as the Muttahida leader Amir Khan.
A huge quantity of arms and ammunition, walkie talkies, binoculars and other military gear used by Nato forces in Afghanistan were also seized during the operation.
During the Rangers operation at the MQM headquarters, which started around 5:00am on Wednesday, an MQM activist Waqas Ali Shah, 26, was killed mysteriously when a single bullet hit his face, while a private TV channel’s cameraman Waseem Mughal was injured due to firing.
A large number of Sindh Rangers personnel had besieged Nine-Zero near the Mukka Chowk on Wednesday morning and searched various offices, compounds and the Khursheed Begum Memorial Hall, in the use of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, for two hours during which they claimed to have held several persons, including Muttahida leader Amir Khan, and claimed that a large quantity of illegal weapons and ammunition was recovered during the raid.
“Five of the men arrested have been identified so far and they include Faisal Mehmood alias Faisal Mota, convicted in the killing of Geo TV’s reporter Wali Khan Babar. Others are Ubaid alias K-2, Farhan Shabbir alias Mulla, Nadir who was convicted and sentenced to 13 years, and Amir,” Rangers spokesman Col Tahir Mehmood told newsmen after the raid, adding that the verification of the identities of other suspects was under way.
Following the raid at its headquarters and offices, the MQM gave a strike call, forcing the closure of shops, businesses, petrol pumps, schools and colleges, and people were compelled to take their children back home from schools after educational institutions, both public and private, decided not to start teaching activitiesdue to the law and order situation in the metropolis.
The MQM alleged that Waqas Ali Shah, s/o Yaqoob Shah, was

killed when Rangers personnel resorted to ‘straight firing’ on its workers during the raid at their headquarters while the Sindh Rangers denied the allegation, saying that the man was killed by a small arm fire, probably a 30 bore or a 9mm pistol, which is not used by the Rangers troops.
Col Tahir said the Sindh Rangers carried out a targeted raid at ‘90’ after it received specific information that some wanted criminals and terrorists were present there and added that Rangers managed to have arrested five criminals, who were wanted to law enforcing agencies, including the police and Rangers.
Some others including security in-charge of the Nine-Zero Minhaj Qazi, Nooruddin Subhani and Muttahida leader Amir Khan were also arrested by the Rangers and shifted to an undisclosed location for interrogation.
The Rangers spokesman claimed that during the raid, Rangers found many weapons whose import into Pakistan was not allowed and suspected that these weapons included guns fitted with silencers, which were probably stolen from the Nato containers.
On the occasion, the media persons were also shown the weapons and other military gear seized during the raid at ‘90’, including the walkie talkies, binoculars and large numbers of the mixed ammunition.
To a query, he said MQM leader Amir Khan was not arrested but was taken into custody to inquire as to why wanted criminals were present with him at ‘90’ and added that no member of national or provincial assembly was arrested during the raid.
He said the raid and the action was completed within two hours after specific information on criminals’ presence at the 90 was received, adding that during the raid, Rangers faced no resistance and people cooperated with the raiding troops.
Replying to another question, he said over 21 roads and streets around the 90 had been closed for common public by placing barricades, which amounts to creating a ‘No-Go’ area and added that Rangers had the mandate to end and eliminate the No-Go areas in the city.
At the end of the Rangers operation, a large number of Muttahida activists started gathering around Nine-Zero and started chanting slogans and protesting against the raid, during which Rangers personnel had to resort to aerial firing. During the protest, Waqas Ali Shah was hit by a bullet in his jaw and died. Following the raid at 90, some armed men resorted to aerial firing, torched some rickshaws, a private car and some pushcarts in different areas of the city, while police and Rangers arrested 35-40 persons involved in arson and creating law and order situation in the metropolis from different areas of the city.
Karachi Police chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo said the East Zone police had arrested 11 political activists for forcing closure of shops in Soldier Bazaar and surrounding areas of the city while paramilitary Rangers also took away several men for trying to create law and order situation.
Online adds from Hyderabad: Tension prevailed in several cities of Sindh after aerial firing and closure of business activities after the MQM announced a peaceful shutter-down strike against the overnight raid on the party’s central office by the Rangers.
According to reports, aerial firing was reported in Mirpurkhas, Tando Allahyar, Nawabshah and other cities.Business and academic activities were also suspended in the cities after the MQM Coordination Committee appealed to the people to keep their business activities at a standstill and transport off the roads (Wednesday) in protest over the Rangers raid at Nine-Zero.

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