MQM leader Izharul Hasan arrested, released

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Izhar chief of target killers: SSP Rao Anwar

Salahuddin Haider

Karachi— Police released MQM leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan on Friday evening after arresting him from his house and keeping him under arrest for some time.
In a statement, additional IG Mustaq Maher said Hasan was released under Section 497-2B of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc).
Opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hasan was arrested from in front of his house Friday but under what charges, and in a manner that raises serious questions whether the country is becoming a police State?
It all happened in very surreptitious manner and despite repeated requests from the MQM Pakistan leader Dr Farooq Sattar to SSP Malir Rao Anwar to show arrest warrants, and let him know the reasons for taking him into custody.
A huge police force had earlier raided the house of Hasan, taking the plea that some wanted men were hiding there, but the raid was conducted without lady searchers when only three ladies—Hasan’s wife, his sister, and sister-in-law, were in the house. Their protests against the alleged high-handedness, and breaking into their house without lawful authority were conveniently overlooked.
Twist and turns in the story would remain incomplete without the sequence in which the entire drama had unfolded, is narrated, even if partially. Witnesses, mostly area resident revealed that the police had first surrounded the area, and on learning that Izharul Hasan’s house was just few steps away, the men in uniform, or, wearing masks stormed into the house.
When the neighbours protested, the SSP Malir, under whose jurisdiction it was all happening, reached there, taking the plea that he had come to know the details, but Izharul Hasan, learning about the incident, arrived there.
The leader of MQM Pakistan Farooq Sattar, Deputy Mayor Arshad Vohra, MPA Rehan Hashmi, and others had reached the scene too. A dialogue took place between Rao Anwar, and Sattar, but a minor altercation developed there. Hot words were also exchanged, and then Rao Anwar took Hasan into custody.
Farooq Sattar later told newsmen that Rao Anwar replied in the affirmative to his query that he had the arrest warrants, and knew the charges against Hasan, but “neither was I shown the warrants, nor told about the charges against the opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly”. That is crossing the limits, in fact is illegal said Sattar, looking worked up.
He appealed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, and Corps Commander Lt-General Naveed Mukhtar to take notice of it and let him know as to whose agenda Rao Anwar was working on?
He said he, Arshad Vohra and MQM MNA Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi, had earlier approached the Chief Minister who telephoned IG Police, and the DIG, Karachi to find out details of the sudden development. Neither of the two police officials had knowledge of what had actually happened. This was a serious matter, said Sattar.
He made it clear that it was no longer an issue between MQM Pakistan and London secretariat which is headed by Altaf Hussain. The two had delinked themselves now and had no connections whatsoever. Why this “repression” then? he asked. The government looked shaken as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rang up Sindh chief minister for details, and remarked that arrest of Assembly or parliament member without the consent of Speaker was unlawful.
The chief minister replied, according to insiders that investigation into the matter was on, but he ordered suspension of SSP Malir Rao Anwar, which the later detested. Rao said that he had done nothing illegal, and that all his actions were according to law of the land.
He recalled that Izharul Hasan had three cases, all in form FIRs, registered since long. He said had he not been suspended he would have brought to fore many a revelations about the accused. He called Izharul Hasan “chief of the target killers” and challenged that MQM Pakistan or Izhar had delinked themselves from Altaf Hussain or his prime office in London. They are still the same, and receiving orders from London.
He insisted that police was not bound to seek prior permission from the Speaker for arresting Assembly or parliament members. Officer arresting legislators merely had to inform the Speaker.
He said Izhar had been taken to Karachi police (by SSP West with a shroud covering his face) where investigation will take place. Rao Anwar said that no police officer, not even seniors, can release an accused. Only courts had that authority. Meanwhile the chief minister said that enquiries were on against Izhar.