Police officers charge with batons at MQM-P protesters in Karachi
At least one person was killed and several others injured while many were arrested on Wednesday after police resorted to batons and bombardment of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) workers protesting the amendments recently adopted in the local government of Sindh. Act of 2013 in Karachi.
According to the MQM-P press cell, police charged at protesters with batons and fired tear gas to disperse protesters outside CM House.
He said that many women workers, as well as members of provincial and national assemblies, were injured due to the baton, adding that some members were arrested despite serious injuries.
Senior MQM-P MNA leader Kishwar Zahra was also injured in the clash with police and was taken to hospital for treatment, according to the party’s media cell.
A spokesperson for MQM-Pakistan confirmed in a statement that one of the workers, Aslam, who was injured by truncheons and shelling, succumbed to his injuries during treatment.
Aslam, a co-organizer of the party’s 5K Chowrangi chapter who was injured in today’s protest, was taken to Jinnah Hospital, where he breathed his last.
Several people were injured and many were taken into custody on Wednesday after police used baton charges and shelling against workers (MQM-P) protesting recently passed amendments to the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 in Karachi.#etribune #news #last pic.twitter.com/8Sg2ACbiiV
— The Express Tribune (@etribune) January 26, 2022
Federal Minister of Information, Technology and Telecommunications and MQM-P spokesperson Syed Aminul Haq said Commissioner Karachi had contacted them.
He said many women and children were injured due to police shelling of participants in the peaceful sit-in.
Police then cleared the area outside CM House and arrested many protesters, including MQM-P workers.
Zahid Mansoori, a member of MQM-Pakistan’s Rabita (coordination) committee, said their sit-in was peaceful. “People have suffered because of the traffic jams but we are protesting for them. We will continue our peaceful struggle,” he said.
JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman phoned MQM-P leader Amir Khan and condemned today’s incident.
According to MQM-P spokesperson Fazl, who also leads an anti-PTI government opposition alliance – PDM – expressed deep sadness over the death of an MQM worker and the injuries of many others. He also condemned the brutal violence against women, children and members of provincial and national assemblies.
On Thursday, a delegation from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) will visit the headquarters of MQM-Pakistan and offer condolences for the martyrdom of the worker, according to the statement.
Earlier, thousands of commuters were stranded on the city’s main thoroughfare – Sharae Faisal – after party activists blocked both sides of the road as they protested the PPP-led Sindh government.
A standoff lasting several hours was reported on the port city’s main thoroughfare and surrounding area, with ambulances, commuters and other vehicles at a standstill as protesters marched to the Karachi Press Club from the FTC.
However, the destination was changed by party leaders when protesters reached the chief minister’s house, where a sit-in was staged.
Other areas affected by the protest were Saddar, Metropole Hotel, II Chundrigar, Press Club Road, Kala Pul and Airport Road.
The traffic jam also severely disrupted the route taken by patients and attendees to get to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC).
Traffic police were unable to resolve the traffic situation and some vehicle owners reportedly ran out of fuel while waiting for traffic to resume.
Frustrated citizens said political parties should not demonstrate on the city’s main thoroughfares and urged Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to take action against such activity.
Citizens questioned whether the local body law issue would be solved by blocking the city’s traffic and said such acts only cause the people of the port city to become helpless.
“Protesting against an attempt to divert attention from the real issues”
Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani in conversation with The Express Grandstandsaid opposition parties, including the MQM-P, who were protesting against the local government bill, wanted to divert attention from real public issues.
“The biggest issues right now are the gas crisis, the monthly increase in electricity tariffs, the sharp rise in drug prices and inflation,” he added.
Ghani asked why the MQM-P had not protested against the federal government on public issues, adding that the issue of the local government bill would be resolved in the provincial assembly, not on the streets.
“It is not right to harass people in the street… The PPP believes in solving problems in a democratic way.”
Ghani said the PPP was not against the protests but that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was about to start and there were “security issues”.
“We had asked MQM-P to demonstrate in front of the Karachi Press Club but they did not listen…for security reasons, the administration took action,” he added.
‘Governor rule option only’
PTI Parliamentary Leader in Sindh Assembly, Khurram Sher Zaman, while condemning the Sindh government, said that “pro-democracy forces” were being punished for protesting against the Local Government Bill.
He asked why the police did not use such tactics against criminal elements, adding that the PPP government used force for “political hooliganism”.
Khurram said “governor’s rule” was the only option left against the behavior of the Sindh government.
Sindh’s opposition parties have been protesting new amendments to the Local Bodies Act for weeks. Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has been organizing a sit-in in front of the Sindh Assembly for more than 27 days.
In December, the provincial assembly again passed the controversial Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2021, with some amendments to the original draft. The bill passed amid protests from opposition parties as their members tore up copies of the agenda and created pandemonium during the assembly session, chaired by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani .
Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar also made an exception to the provincial government’s use of brute force, saying, “The PPP’s dictatorial style of government under the guise of democracy is highly reprehensible.”
Pakistan’s Constitution, he argued, gives citizens the right to peaceful protest, adding that the PPP’s approach to suppressing dissent through the use of force was shameful.
جمہوریت کے لبادے میں پیپلزپارٹی کا آمرانہ طرزِ حکومت نہایت قابل مذمت.
دستور پاکستان شہریوں کو پرامن احتجاج کا حق دیتا ہے.
طاقت کے استعمال کے ذریعے حق اختلاف کو دبانے کی پیپلز پارٹی کی روش شامن
—Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) January 26, 2022
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also denounced the “harassment” of the Sindh government.
“At a time when an event like PSL was about to take place, there was no justification for the violent incident. PTI Sindh leadership is closely monitoring the situation and all our support goes to MQM,” he said. he writes on his official Twitter account.
ایم کیو ایم کے پر امن احتجاج پر سندہ حکومت کی غنڈہ گردی کی شدید مذمت کرتے ہیں, ایسے وقت میں جب PSL جیسا ایونٹ ہونے جا رہا ہے اس پر تشدد واقعے کا کوئ جواز نہیں تھا, PTI سندہ کی لیڈرشپ اس واقع کا بغور جائزہ لے رہی ہے اور ہماری تمام حمائیت ایم کیو ایم کے ساتھ ہے۔
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) January 26, 2022
Later, while addressing an urgently called press conference, MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui announced that the party would observe a “black day” on Thursday due to the brutal treatment of his party employees today.
He also asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to have the GI of Sindh removed through the provincial government.
Khalid also threatened PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to “tighten the noose around his chief minister, otherwise Bilawal House is also located in this city”.
“We don’t want to fight, but you know very well that we know how to fight (…) it’s shameful not to fight if your honor is at stake,” he added.
Khalid said the former Nazim from New Karachi Town lost his eye as a result of police shelling. “The racist chief minister should pray that the city does not rise up, otherwise there could be serious consequences,” he warned.
He said that if the MQM-P party workers are not released immediately, “they will be free to make their own decisions.”
The MQM-P official also asked the Prime Minister to visit the city as soon as possible. “The IG you sent looks more like a Sindhu Desh Commissar.”
Khalid also demanded the resignation of Sindh Chief Minister Shah, “otherwise the gates of the city will be closed to him”. Khalid also urged students, industrialists and businessmen to speak out against the provincial government’s oppression.
Farooq Sattar meets old friends
Head of MQM Meeting Committee, Dr. Farooq Sattar met with MQM-P leaders at their office in Bahardurabad and condemned today’s incident. Farooq, while calling the incident “unprecedented”, said that while the government can break the law, it also has the ability to protest.
“Was the Jamat-e-Islami sit-in outside the red zone? The party that has a big mandate in this city was tortured today.
The former MQM-P leader said one of the North Karachi workers, Mohammad Aslam, was killed due to police brutality. “For the honor of our mothers and our sisters and despite the difference, we are united.”
He said MPA Sadaqat Hussain was subjected to brutal torture and a public representative was dragged down the road by the police.
Speaking on the occasion, MQM-P leader Amir Khan said all parties were protesting against the Sindh Local Government Act except the PPP. “We had only exercised our democratic right by organizing a demonstration,” he added.
He said that on the one hand, the government was in contact with us by telephone but on the other hand, the police subjected the demonstrators to brutal tortures.
Amir said the party worker’s funeral prayers will be offered tomorrow and the future strategy will be shared soon. He called on trade associations to support MQM’s Black Day tomorrow, adding that his party is organizing the protest for Karachi’s rights and everyone’s livelihood is attached to this city.