KARACHI: Residents of Pak Colony staged a violent protest on Friday, set ablaze three vehicles, including a brand new four-by-four of a local PPP leader, and blocked the main road for vehicular traffic for hours.
Their protest was so violent that for a considerable period of time police and Rangers failed to reach the scene.
The residents were protesting against a police raid, which had been carried out on Wednesday night, in the Pak Colony area during which 14 men were taken into custody. Since then the police had been telling the locals that all those found innocent among those held would be released. However, none of the detained men were released by the police till Friday afternoon.
Following the Friday prayers, people of the area took to the streets, blocked the main road near Bara Board, Pak Colony for vehicular traffic and lit bonfires.
The road blockade resulted in a traffic mess in Nazimabad, SITE and Old Golimar localities.
During the protest, a 27-year-old man, identified as Majid alias Lalajee, sustained a gunshot wound but it was not clear as to who shot at him, the police said, adding that he was rushed to the Civil Hospital Karachi.
The police said that the protesters set a passenger coach, a motorcycle and a double-cabin four-by-four of a local PPP leader on fire.
They said instead of avoiding the area, Ali Ahmed, the president of PS-93 City Area of the PPP’s organisational structure, drove straight into the protesters assuming that he could be given passage, but angry protesters surrounded his vehicle. They dragged him and his guard out of the vehicle and took away some valuables before setting it on fire.
PPP leader Sohail Abdi said that Mr Ahmed’s vehicle was intercepted by the protesters who knew his political affiliation. When he along with a police guard got off the vehicle, the protesters threw some chemical on the vehicle and set it on fire, he added.
The angry protesters remained undeterred even when the police guard of the PPP leader fired into the air as they torched the vehicle.
PPP sources said that Mr Ahmed had purchased the vehicle only four days back.
A police officer said that the situation worsened when the PPP leader’s guard opened fire. This further angered them and, besides the four-by-four, they also set fire to two other vehicles.
He said that an MNA and an MPA elected from the area were holding talks with the police for the release of the held suspects when there was a breakdown of law and order.
The situation eased a little at Iftar though the police did not attempt to use force against the protesters. But the area around the Pak Colony police station remained quite tense with a large number of protesters seeking release of the detained people. Till late in the night, the road was blocked as protesters remained there.
Police reinforcement was called at the police station to avert a possible attack.