A worker of MQM-P was killed, while several others, including women, sustained injuries after Karachi police baton-charged and tear-gassed them during a protest at Shahrah-e-Faisal.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) workers protested against the recently passed amendments to the Sindh Local Government Act of 2013 outside the Chief Minister’s House.

Speaking to journalists in Karachi’s Bahadurabad area after midnight, MQM-P’s parliamentarian leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui confirmed that one of the party workers, identified as Aslam, succumbed to his injuries. 

“We will register a case under a section of the anti-terrorism law against Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah for the murder of our worker,” Siddiqui said.

“This was not the first day of our protests [against the PPP-led provincial government] but just the beginning,” he continued.

He said that the funeral prayers for Aslam would be held in Karachi today (Thursday), adding that several other members of the MQM, including women, are hospitalised after police baton-charged and tear-gassed them. 

Senior leader MNA Kishwar Zahra was also injured in the clash with police and was taken to hospital for treatment, according to the party’s media cell.

The senior MQM-P leader said that while the party had earlier announced a “black day” in Karachi, it will now observe a “day of mourning” (youm e soug) due to the death of the party worker. 

Siddiqui said that Prime Minister Imran Khan and Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid have taken notice of the incident, while federal ministers are looking into the matter as well.

THE PROTEST: The MQM-P workers and leaders had gathered in large numbers to protest against the controversial local government bill.

Later on, the protesters attempted to reach the Chief Minister’s House for a sit-in. As a result, the flow of traffic was severely affected on the road considered the city’s main artery.

The police, however, baton-charged the crowd and used teargas shells in an attempt to dissuade it from entering the red zone.

MQM-P representatives said several women and children participating in the protests sustained injuries, while the police arrested several MQM-P leaders and activists.

Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) Sadaqat Hussain was also injured because of the baton charge. Contingents of south police were called in to disperse the demonstrators.

According to the traffic police, the Shahrah-e-Faisal choked as protesters continued to advance, therefore, they had “no choice but to use force and fire teargas shells.”

The protesters, however, insisted that they were “peaceful” but the police went ahead and used force to disperse them.

The police cleared the area and roads resuming the traffic for the public, while five people were arrested from the area near the CM House.

MQM-P leaders and workers later left for the press club where the top leadership held a press conference.

Speaking to the media and workers outside the press club, Siddiqui announced that the party would observe a “black day” on January 27 (today).

“The way the police treated our women party workers is a question of our honour,” he said.

He warned the provincial government that if the party does not get updates on workers, who have been taken into custody, the party will be “free to take any decision.”

Urging Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit Karachi as soon as possible, he said that the premier needs to choose between the people who want to break Pakistan or those who are “working for the survival of the country.”

The MQM-P leader demanded an inquiry against Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, saying that he should resign or else the party will take strict actions against the provincial government.

“We don’t want to fight; however, we do know how to fight,” he reiterated.

SAEED GHANI: Sindh Minister for Information Saeed Ghani said that the MQM-P decided to change the venue of the protest, as they had earlier announced the demonstration outside the press club but they started marching towards the CM House.

“We are not against protests, even Jamat-e-Islami has been protesting in front of the Sindh Assembly for almost a month now,” he said, adding that the MQM-P should have been careful as several foreign players are staying in hotels near the CM House because of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) which is scheduled to commence on Thursday.

Ghani said that because of PSL, security was already high and the protestors were warned not to move towards the CM House; however, they defied all requests and the police had to take action.

Blaming the MQM-P, the minister said that if the party workers and leaders had protested outside the press club the situation would have been different.

Criticising the party, he further added that MQM-P, along with the PTI, wants to divert the public’s attention from the actual issues.

CONDEMNATIONS: Taking notice of the incident in Karachi, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood strongly condemned the “police brutality”.

“So much for Bilawal’s lectures on democracy,” he said while berating the PPP-led Sindh government.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry criticised the Sindh government for resorting to violence against peaceful MQM protesters at a time when PSL is just around the corner.

Sharing a video statement on his Twitter handle, Governor Imran Ismail condemned the “police brutality,” adding that local government should resolve the issue with mutual understanding through dialogue.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said that the Constitution of Pakistan allows its citizens to protest, adding that “PPP’s approach to suppressing dissent by force is shameful.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here