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Karachi erupts as MQM ex-MPA Nadeem Hashmi arrested

12 September, 2013

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KARACHI/HYDERABAD: Protests and shutdowns were observed in Karachi, Hyderabad and some other districts of Sindh on Wednesday against the arrest of former Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MPA Nadeem Hashmi.

Business activities came to a halt, while schools and transport was closed across the province following the arrest of Nadeem Hashmi over two policemen's murder. Hashmi was arrested late on Tuesday over suspected involvement in the murder of the two policemen in North Nazimabad. He was subsequently shifted to the Pirabad Police Station where an FIR was registered against him. Officials said Hashmi was arrested from his North Nazimabad residence in a raid by police.

Sources said the arrest was made an hour after two policemen were shot dead near Landi Kotal, Chowrangi on Tuesday. MQM chief Altaf Hussain and the party's Coordination Committee condemned the arrest of Hashmi, who is MQM's Unit Incharge and a former member of the Sindh Assembly. MQM leader Khwaja Izharul Hassan has claimed that the murder charges against Hashmi are concocted and baseless.

The arrest of Hashmi led to tension in different cities of Sindh, including Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Tando Adam Khan, where commercial activities were suspended. Schools, offices, markets, transport, petrol pumps and CNG stations were closed across Karachi. Meanwhile, unidentified miscreants resorted to aerial firing and torched at least five vehicles in different areas of the city, including Korangi's Nasir Jump locality, Gulistan-e-Jauhar and North Karachi.

However, the city returned to normalcy in the evening; businesses were re-opened and transporters brought their vehicles back on roads. Speaking on the arrest of his party's member, MQM chief Altaf Hussain said that an operation has been launched against his party like the one in 1992. He urged the MQM workers to prepare themselves mentally and physically to confront what he termed was state oppression.

On the other hand, MQM's leader Haider Abbas Rizvi told a press conference at Nine Zero that the ongoing targeted operation in Karachi no more seemed transparent as some elements have sabotaged it. He said that gang war was being patronised by political forces in the city, and hundreds of innocent people, including MQM activists, were arrested in the operation. "If some criminals are hiding in MQM ranks, the party will never support them," he said.

He said that the targeted operation has lost its direction as the target has been moved towards the MQM. Rizvi said that security forces were conducting raids in the areas that are the strongholds of the party and are arresting MQM workers and supporters. Rizvi said that the MQM was told after Hashmi's arrest that if there is crime in any area, the unit in-charge of MQM would be arrested.

End.

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