KARACHI: In a dramatic move, police Friday arrested Khawja Izharul Hasan, the opposition leader in the provincial Sindh assembly, prompting the chief minister to suspend the officer in-charge of the raiding party for violating rules.
The imbroglio began in the afternoon, when a police party raided Hasan’s residence in district central and combed his house while he was at a meeting in the chief minister’s house.
Syed Murad Ali Shah, the chief minister who came to know of the raid, immediately ordered suspension of a station house officer (SHO) and an inquiry into the incident.
Hasan reportedly rushed to his residence in the Buffer Zone area where female family members were present at the time of the raid.
Talking to media, Hasan expressed anguish over the high-handedness of the police who raided his house without any warrant. The chief minister, provincial police chief, as well as the police chief at the central district also expressed ignorance over the raid that was carried out without their knowledge.
Speaker of the Sindh assembly Agha Siraj Duranni was also in the dark about the raid. Under the law, the police or law enforcement agencies need to take prior permission from the speaker if they had to search the house or arrest any member of parliament.
Rao Anwar, the senior police officer of the police, who was in-charge of the district east police, explained to the media later that the raid was carried by his team due to some confusion. He said the raiding party was chasing a wanted man who was allegedly hiding at the residence of Hasan. The police party did not know it was the house of Hasan, he said.
But an hour later, when Hasan along with Farooq Sattar and other senior leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were holding parleys at Hasan’s residence, Anwar reportedly reached the house with a heavy contingent of policemen and armoured personnel cars (APC).
He arrested Hasan despite resistance from him as well as Sattar, who insisted the officer show the arrest warrant for Hasan.
Anwar allegedly handcuffed and dragged Hasan to the APC. According to sources, the police were seen bullying the opposition leader as well Sattar.
“I have suspended the police officer for his unlawful act and he will be punished if the charges are proven against him,” chief minister Shah told the media on the sidelines of the funeral Friday of a police officer who succumbed to his injuries sustained in a suicide bomb blast in a provincial town.
Sattar, talking to the media said Hasan’s arrest was an assault on the democratic institution of the country.
“This arrest reflects the [police] enmity to the MQM and mohajirs,” Sattar told the media. He also alluded that Anwar was close to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Zardari.
He appealed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as well as Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Shatif to take cognisance of the situation and initiate appropriate action against those responsible.