Transferring’ weapons: Rescue services come under Rangers’ radar

Transferring’ weapons: Rescue services come under Rangers’ radar
sochnewspakSuspects arrested by the Rangers have allegedly revealed that the ambulances of welfare rescue services were used to transport arms from one place to another. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The welfare rescue services in the city have come under the radar of the paramilitary forces as some arrested suspects revealed that their ambulances are used to transport arms from one place to another.

Some suspects belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) allegedly confessed during interrogation that they have been involved in smuggling and hiding illegal weapons across the city with the help of welfare organisations, according to paramilitary officials. These suspects, including MQM coordination committee head Amir Khan, were apprehended when the Rangers raided the party’s headquarters, Nine Zero, and its surrounding areas.

“The welfare organisations are not our target directly,” clarified a Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, spokesperson. “Our focus is only on criminals, and whether or not they have direct or indirect involvement.”

He told The Express Tribune that they will target those who are involved in criminal activities. “Those who are involved unintentionally will be treated the same and will be brought to book under the Sindh Arms Act,” he said. However, he failed to mention if the paramilitary force will go after one welfare organisation or all of the ones operating in Karachi.

The Rangers officials also refused to name which welfare organisation is suspected of being involved in the practice. Only the officials of certain welfare services are involved in smuggling and hiding illegal weapons, he said, adding that it could be one or more organisation.

The charity wing of the MQM, Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation (KKF), is believed to be the main target given that the suspects who made the revelations are alleged members of the party. KKF comes under the jurisdiction of the MQM as it was formed by party chief Altaf Hussain and his colleagues in 1978, when it was known as the Khidmat-e-Khalq Committee.

The MQM spokesperson insisted, however, that KKF is merely a charity organisation. “It has no links with any criminal activity and it works purely on humanitarian grounds,” said an official.

The officials of Edhi foundation have welcomed the Rangers’ statement. “We had already asked the authorities of all provinces to check our vehicles because criminal activities can be carried out in ambulances,” said Edhi official Anwar Kazmi. “We have no objections and will welcome those who come to check our vehicles.” Chhipa welfare organisation’s officials were, however, not available for comments.

PIB Raid
Meanwhile, nearly a dozen suspects were apprehended by the Rangers from different parts of the city as part of the ongoing targeted raids. The identities of the suspects were not disclosed but sources in the paramilitary force confirmed that some of the suspects were workers of various political parties in the city. They have been shifted to undisclosed locations for further questioning.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2015.