Report concerning detained MQM worker Umair Siddiqui presented in the Sindh High Court by Rangers carries serious allegations against the party, which remain to be successfully proven in the courts. Rangers claim that Mr Siddiqui has been involved in 120 incidents of target killing as head of a team of target killers, which included 23 members of the MQM, tasked by the party to kill individuals deemed to be anti-MQM. Confessions made by the suspect paint a disturbing picture of the party’s activities. He accuses MQM’s Deputy Convener Anees Qaim Khani of ordering target killers to increase killings on the basis of ethnicity. He revealed that 250-300 target killers were still residing in close proximity to Nine Zero. Moreover, he confirmed that the Baldia Factory fire of 2012 was started by a sector-incharge of the MQM.

The MQM maintains that confessions made under duress do not carry any weight. It is true that previously suspects have retracted their statements during the course of the trial and accused law enforcement agencies of employing torture and coercion. As the trial continues, it will become clear if Mr Siddiqui endorses the report presented by Rangers. Also, the prosecution should be able to present solid evidence that corroborates its story and doesn’t leave everything hanging on the veracity of the statements extracted from the suspect as seen in several cases in the past.

While the MQM Chief has denied all accusations, the discovery of convicted murderers and illegal weapons from Nine Zero during the raid has raised serious questions, which the party has been unable to answer so far. That the MQM has militants in its ranks isn’t exactly breaking news as reports submitted in the past to the Supreme Court claimed that almost all political parties operating in Karachi, including the ANP and the PPP, have militant wings. ANP leader Shahi Syed has on record accepted the possibility of militants working under the party’s banner, not necessarily with the permission of the leadership. The relationship between the PPP and Lyari’s Peoples Aman Committee is no secret either. Gangster Uzair Baloch may be extradited to Pakistan in the comings days, and he might spill the beans and confirm what is common knowledge. The operation should not appear to be driven by prejudice or politics. If the objective is restoring peace in Karachi and the wider province, then the action has to be indiscriminate no matter how politically unfavourable it may be for anyone.