KARACHI, Aug 10: The main procession taken out from Nishtar Park in connection with the martyrdom of Hazrat Ali was heading towards its destination when two incidents of firing in quick succession near Light House caused panic among participants leading to a protest against law-enforcement agencies on Friday evening.
While no one was killed in the firing that the marchers blamed ‘trigger-happy’ Rangers personnel for, at least two scouts sustained gunshot wounds to their legs, according to the participants.
Following the incident, some charged protesters shouted slogans and hurled bricks and stones at the paramilitary force and police deployed for the security of the procession.
Some police vehicles were damaged in the violence.
The head of the procession, however, did not stop and continued to proceed towards its destination.
The authorities and the protesters blamed one another for firing gunshots.
In a private TV news channel interview, Karachi Commissioner Roshan Ali Shaikh alleged that firing was carried out from the procession. Around 800 people wanted to join the procession at a designated entry point near Light House, he said, adding that someone fired gunshots while they were being patted down.
The law-enforcement officials fired a few bullets in retaliation, claimed the commissioner.
However, one of the organisers of the procession Shabbar Zaidi said that the firing was carried out from outside the procession.
Footage aired by a news channel showed two FC men on a rooftop of a building along the route of a procession apparently firing in some direction.
Some participants in the procession accused the Rangers of opening straight fire instead of firing into the air. They said that two scouts sustained gunshot wounds and were shifted to a private hospital.
However, it could not be verified.
Additional IG Karachi Iqbal Mehmood said that the threat level was so high that law-enforcers could not take chances. During frisking, they had a heated argument and meanwhile ‘someone fired a shot’ that triggered the situation, he said.
However, the situation was brought under control with the cooperation of the organisers and law-enforcement agencies, he added.
The procession culminated peacefully at its destination, Imambargah Husainian Iranian Kharadar, where the participants later broke their fast.
A spokesman of the Rangers refrained from making a comment over the Friday incident, saying that they had not issued a statement.
Before the procession was taken out, a Majlis was held at Nishtar Park where Maulana Shahanshah Naqvi addressed the mourners. The marchers offered Zuhar prayers on M.A Jinnah Road in front of Imambargah Ali Raza. Following the prayers, the Imamia Students Organisation staged a protest demonstration against the killings of the minority Muslims in Myanmar.