KARACHI: Paramilitary Rangers raided three offices of a known businessman, Anwar Majeed, who is said to be a close friend of former president Asif Ali Zardari, and claimed seizing illegal weapons on Friday. The raids coincided with PPP Co-chairman Zardari’s return to the country from Dubai, 18 months after he had abruptly gone abroad.
The spokesman for the Sindh Rangers said personnel of the force conducted the swoops on intelligence about the presence of weapons and miscreants in two offices on the II Chundrigar Road and at the Hockey Stadium.
The crackdown led to the detention of five suspects and the seizure of 17 Kalashnikovs, four pistols, 3,225 bullets of different calibers and nine ball bombs. The arms and ammunition had been concealed in secret places in the offices. Some important documents were also seized.
Those detained were identified as Shahzad Shahid, Rajab Ali Rajpur, Ajmal Khan, Kamran Munir Asari and Kashif Hussain.
The spokesman said that they would examine the arms and go through the documents and whosoever was the facilitator would be dealt with according to the law. Officials sources said the offices raided by the Rangers belonged to known businessman Anwar Majeed.
A press release issued on behalf of Omni Group of Companies said that some Rangers’ personnel raided their company’s two offices near the Hockey Stadium and Hotel Metropole and locked up all employees present there in a room. It said that the law enforcers left after an hour, taking away some files, record of CCTV footage and two employees, Kashif Shah and Kamran Munir Ansari.
Soon after the incident, the group said the Rangers claimed in a statement that they had carried out raids on its offices, detained its five staffers and seized weapons. The group clarified that the II Chundrigar Road office, which was raided by the Rangers, did not belong to it.
According to the press release, Raja Ali, Shahzad Shahid and Ajmal Khan mentioned in the Rangers statement were not the group’s employees and were not present in its offices. The group also disowned the weapons and sought justice and protection from alleged victimisation. All the detainees were later released.
In yet another raid, paramilitary soldiers seized a huge cache of weapons from the Garden area. The Rangers spokesman said that based on intelligence, they conducted a raid, arrested Asghar Khan and Mohammed Hussain Abbas and shifted them to their headquarters.
Those arrested allegedly belong to the MQM’s militant wing. During the initial interrogation, the two disclosed a location where they had buried the weapons. The paramilitary force went to the location and found eight submachine guns, a .222 rifle, seven 12-bore short gun repeaters, a 8mm rifle, two 7mm rifles, a .22 rifle, a 30-bore mauser and 9,882 bullets of different calibers. The recovered weapons were meant to be used by the suspects to create disturbances in the city.
The suspects and the weapons were handed over to the police for further legal proceedings.
On Friday night, the Rangers’ personnel raided a locality on the outskirts of the city and seized a huge cache of weapons.
The spokesman said they conducted the intelligence-based raid in a Baldia Town area and dug up the weapons, which belonged to the MQM’s militant wing. The recovered weapons are three SMGs and Kalashnikov, three Baby Kalashnikovs, two 30-bore pistols, four 12-bore repeater rifles and 666 bullets of different calibers.
The recovered weapons were meant to be used in the city for target killings and creating disturbances by the militant wing. INP adds: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday to brief him over the raids of a paramilitary force in Karachi.
During the briefing, the interior minister said that Rangers conducted raids on the offices of an insurance company on the basis of solid evidence. The minister denied any political angle to the raids as PPP Co- chairman Asif Ali Zardari returned to the country on Friday. Chaudhry Nisar deemed the clarification fit to be conveyed as the insurance company belongs to a close friend of Zardari. The meeting also discussed the overall security situation of the country.
News Desk adds: Sindh Chief Minister’s Adviser on Information Maula Bux Chandio on Friday expressed reservations about raids carried out by the paramilitary troops in Karachi. “It seems like these raids were carried out as part of political vendetta,” said Chandio while talking to the media. “It took a lot of hard work to create the impression that there were no differences between the state institutions but today this impression was negated,” he said.