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Pakistan Arrests Five MQM Party Leaders After Violent Protest

Pakistani paramilitary forces have sealed the headquarters of a powerful political party in Karachi and detained five of its top leaders, after supporters of the party stormed the office of a television channel.

"We have sealed the [Muttahida Qaumi Movement] headquarters, their media office and hostel; some weapons have also been recovered," Khurram Shahzad, a Rangers force commander ,told reporters on August 23.

MQM said five of its leaders had been taken into custody.

Crowds of MQM workers had attacked the ARY News television office, firing shots and smashing the premises after their self-exiled leader Altaf Hussain accused the media of failing to cover a six-day hunger strike.

They later clashed with police outside, leaving one person dead and several wounded.

Hussain asked for forgiveness from the Rangers.

"From the depth of heart, I beg pardon from the Pakistani establishment," he said. "I was under severe mental stress over extrajudicial arrests and precarious condition of my workers sitting at hunger-striking camp."

Law-enforcement agencies accuse MQM of racketeering, abduction, torture, and murder in its bid to maintain power.

The party denies any link to crime.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters