Sep 29, 2011

Afaq Ahmed to remain detained for one more month

 

The Sindh government on Wednesday detained the head of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement alias Haqiqi in jail for 30 days under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) on the apprehension of confrontation among the armed groups. 

 


In a related development, the provincial government also banned rallies and processions or gathering of more than five people for a period of 30 days for identical reasons, according to officials and party leaders.

The Sindh High Court had granted bail to Afaq Ahmed in criminal cases on Tuesday and he was supposed to be released from Malir Jail on Wednesday.

Several workers of the MQM-H had gathered on the National Highway to receive their leader; however, they got infuriated after coming to know that he had been detained under the MPO for 30 days. They demonstrated on the highway and staged a sit-in for sometime, prompting the police to resort to light teargas shelling to disperse them.

According to a notification issued by the Home Department, Ahmed was detained under the MPO because, in case of his release, there were apprehensions of clashes among the armed groups in the metropolis. The notification stated that Ahmed’s supporters wanted to stage welcome rallies in the city, which could have triggered confrontation leading to possible loss of life and property. Therefore, it said, the government deemed it necessary to confine the MQM-H leader in jail for one month under the 1960s law.

Through another notification issued by the Home Department, rallies, processions and gathering of more than five people have been banned in the provincial capital under Section 144 for a period of one month. The government said that the rallies had been banned owing to the apprehension of clashes among the armed groups.

Minister for Prisons Sadiq Ali Memon told The News that Ahmed got bail in three cases and submitted sureties in two cases while he was supposed to submit a surety in the third case on Wednesday as per his information. Sadiq said that the MQM-H leader had been detained on the orders of the Home Department; therefore, the home minister would be in a better position to explain the possible dangers to the city peace in case of his release from prison.

Meanwhile, Ahmed’s lawyer Farooq Ahmed told The News that his client had been acquitted in all cases except three in which he had been granted bail by the court.

A spokesperson for the MQM-H, Khalid Naqshbandi, told The News that their leader had been detained since year 2004, adding that he had been acquitted in some cases, while other cases had been dismissed and he obtained bail from the competent court in the cases pending against him.

He said it was incomprehensible for them as to what danger Ahmed’s release would have posed to peace in the city.

Naqshbandi said that the law enforcement agencies have been conducting operations in different areas for over a month now and peace had returned to the city. “The MQM is a political party and it believes in the democratic struggle for attaining rights and that was even evident from our today’s protest that remained peaceful,” he added.

He said that the government was demonstrating an undemocratic attitude and violating the court’s orders.

The MQM-H spokesperson said that they would challenge the confinement of their leader before the SHC, adding an emergent meeting of the party’s central executive committee and the organising committee of Karachi would be held on Wednesday night and the media would be informed about their future line of action.

Meanwhile, MQM-Haqiqi leaders Khalid Naqshbandi and Rizwan Shams told The News that by further detaining their party chairman despite court orders the provincial government had committed a blatant violation of basic human rights.

They said that the provincial government had disappointed thousands of Haqiqi supporters, who were gathered at the jail to welcome their leader as well as those who were waiting to accord him a welcome in Landhi.

“We will approach the High Court on Thursday against the illegal detention of our leader and adopt all legal, constitutional and moral ways and means to get our jailed but innocent leader free,” Naqshbandi said.

Ahmed had parted ways with the MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) in 1992 during the military operation against the party and formed his own faction MQM-Haqiqi along with Amir Khan.

Khan had also remained in jail and was recently released following which he joined the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

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