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Pakistani troops raid headquarters of prominent political party in Karachi, arrest suspects

  • Pakistani paramilitary troops raid the Muttahida Quami Movement's offices in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. A Pakistani army officer says about 20 suspects were arrested, weapons seized and the premises were sealed during a raid on the headquarters of the well-known political party. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

    Pakistani paramilitary troops raid the Muttahida Quami Movement's offices in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. A Pakistani army officer says about 20 suspects were arrested, weapons seized and the premises were sealed during a raid on the headquarters of the well-known political party. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pakistani women react to the arrest of their family members during a raid at the offices of the Muttahida Quami Movement in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. A Pakistani army officer says soldiers raided the headquarters of a well-known political party in Karachi, arresting about 20 suspects, seizing weapons and sealing the premises. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

    Pakistani women react to the arrest of their family members during a raid at the offices of the Muttahida Quami Movement in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. A Pakistani army officer says soldiers raided the headquarters of a well-known political party in Karachi, arresting about 20 suspects, seizing weapons and sealing the premises. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)  (The Associated Press)

A Pakistani army officer says soldiers raided the headquarters of a well-known political party in Karachi, arresting about 20 suspects, seizing weapons and sealing the premises.

Col. Tahir Mahmood says troops seized a large cache of assault rifles and detained the suspects — including six "known criminals" — in the raid early Wednesday at the Muttahida Quami Movement's offices in the heart of the city.

He claims the party sheltered criminals and obstructed life in the neighborhood by placing barricades in the streets.

The MQM is a prominent party that controls most of Karachi but is often accused by opponents of using violence to bolster its power. Its leader, Altaf Hussain has lived in exile in Britain since 1992.

Party official Farooq Sattar condemned the raid as politically motivated.