Sindh Rangers on Saturday took Professor Dr Hasan Zafar Arif and Kunwar Khalid Yunus of the London-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement into custody from outside the Karachi Press Club, where they were due to address a press conference.
Before MQM London leaders arrived at the press club’s premises, large number of Rangers personnel had taken positions in the surrounding area and were checking the vehicles that were passing by.
Dr Arif was taken into custody before he could enter the press club. He was taken in a Rangers mobile van to an undisclosed location.
Kunwar Khalid Yunus was also taken into custody on his way to Karachi Press Club and shifted to an undisclosed location.
Following the arrests of the leaders, the London-based party decided to cancel the press conference.
In a tweet, MQM London’s Wasay Jalil said coordination committee members Dr. Arif and Kunwar Khalid Yunus were detained by members of the paramilitary force.
Both arrested are members of the new coordination committee which was constituted by the London-based MQM.
Later in the evening, Rangers also arrested newly joined MQM London leader Amjad Ullah from outside Karachi Press Club.
The 12-member interim coordination committee was formed by MQM’s London-based leadership in an attempt to regain organisational control of the party which it almost lost following the August 22 incendiary speech of party founder Altaf Hussain.
Dr Arif had recently joined the party along with four other members — Advocate Ishaq, former president of the National Students Federation Momin Khan Momin, Amjadullah Khan and Advocate Idrees Alvi — of the new coordination committee. He is a former faculty member of Karachi University’s philosophy department.
Today’s development comes a week after he addressed a press conference at the Karachi Press Club during which he demanded that the ongoing “anti-MQM” operation be called off forthwith.
The Oct 15 press conference was the first show of strength by Altaf Hussain against Dr Farooq Sattar-led MQM-Pakistan, which had sidelined and disowned him following his Aug 22 speech.