KARACHI - Law enforcement agencies on Saturday briefly detained two Karachi University (KU) faculty members and a student and released them after questioning.

The two were arrested in a bid to stop them from organising a press conference in favour of detained Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London leader Prof Hassan Zafar Arif.

Sources in law enforcement agencies confirmed the arrest of the two KU faculty members and said that they were released after brief questioning. Those reportedly arrested were Dr Riaz Ahmed and Mehar Afroze Murad. Student Naghma Iqtidar Sheikh was also taken into custody along with them. Those arrested were said to have close ties with Dr Hassan Zafar Arif and were trying to hold a press conference for his release.

The third KU professor, Dr Naveen Haider, who had to hold a press conference along with two other teachers, reached the Karachi Press Club. She informed the media that Rangers personnel allegedly took her colleagues into custody and shifted them to their headquarters near the press club. She said that her colleagues wanted to hold a press conference for the release of their long-time companion Dr Arif regardless of his political affiliation. She urged the authorities to release him considering his old age and deteriorating health.

“We are not linked to any political party. Dr Arif has been our teacher at KU,” she said, informing the media about the arrests and the purpose of the press conference to be held.

The MQM-London also denied any association of the arrested teachers with the party. Party spokesperson Wasay Jalil said the two were not part of the MQM and were holding the press conference on the basis of their association with Dr Arif. He, however, condemned the arrest and called it a “blatant act”. “The freedom of expression has been snatched away from the MQM and all those who speak against the injustices of the government,” said the MQM-London spokesperson.