KARACHI - Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) provincial leader Tariq Mehboob was allegedly tortured to death while he was in a 90-day detention at Rangers’ cell in Central Jail, Karachi.

According to details, Tariq Mehboob was arrested along with his five family and party members from his residence located at Block-16, Federal B Area, during a raid by Rangers on April 12. Later, Sindh Rangers produced him in an anti-terrorism court (ATC), claiming he was providing financial support to target killers. Mehboob strongly denied such charges.

The Central Jail sources revealed that Rangers officials brought him with marks of wounds and immediately shifted him to their special cell without medical treatment as his condition had turned critical. The sources said the jail administration had no access to the Rangers cell in the prison.

On Saturday morning, the Central Jail administration claimed Mehbood died of cardiac arrest. His body was taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for autopsy, where doctors kept his postmortem report with them and sent the samples for chemical and pathology examination.

On the other hand, Sindh Rangers clarified that Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) provincial leader Tariq Mehboob had not died while in their detention. Rangers’ spokesperson claimed that Mehboob along with his accomplices was apprehended on the charges of their involvement in criminal activities.

He was sent for a 90-day preventive detention by ATC in the Central Jail on April 16 after completing all legal formalities for further interrogation by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT). The spokesperson further claimed that he was handed over to the Central Jail authorities on the same day. The spokesman clarified that he did not die while into Rangers custody; rather he died in Central Jail, Karachi.

Mehboob’s family, however, strongly condemned the ‘killing’, demanding registration of an FIR against those responsible for it.

Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders, including Senator Saeed Ghani, Habibuddin Junaidi, Lateef Mughal, Manzoor Abbas and Zulfiquar Kaimkhani, expressed serious concern over the death of Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) Joint Secretary and Anjuman Naujawanan-e-Islam (NNI) Chief Tariq Mehboob while into Sindh Rangers’ custody. They demanded transparent investigation into his death.

In a statement, they said any citizen while into the custody of law-enforcement agencies should be treated as an accused and not a criminal until his guilt is proven and a court of law formally convicts him. They said the Central Jail Karachi’s administration had termed Tariq Mehboob’s death natural. “It is not a new claim of the jail administration. It is need of the hour that proper investigation into Tariq Mehboob’s death should be initiated to make things transparent.”

They said the death of the accused into custody of the LEAs was leaving a negative impact on the minds of the masses while the jail administration should ensure that no accused in detention should miss immediate medical assistance in a case of life-threatening medical emergency.

Similarly, MQM Deputy Convener Nadeem Nusrat demanded the setting up of a judicial commission to probe the death of Sunni Ittehad Council leader Tariq Mahboob. The deceased was a diabetes patient.