KARACHI: Tension and fear gripped Karachi, Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas as routine life came to a halt on Friday evening following intermittent firing by unidentified youths who wanted to ensure a complete closure.
While local administration and security institutions remained tight-lipped about the reason and the people behind the sudden closure, all business and commercial activities in Karachi and other urban centres of the province were shut and traffic disappeared from roads.
In Karachi, businessmen and shopkeepers pulled down their shutters a few minutes after 9pm and by 9:30pm the entire city became deserted. Streetlights were also switched off and darkness ruled the city’s five districts.
Parts of Karachi’s East and Central district reverberated with the sound of heavy gunfire, causing fear among residents. The upscale area in the city’s South district, where a number of eateries usually remain opened late in the night, were also shut and the same situation was seen outside the Cantt and City railway stations Authorities remained reluctant to share reasons behind the organised closure. Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon refused to comment when asked whether the recent closure of Sindh cities was linked with any particular political party.
However, he said that the Sindh chief minister had directed the police and Rangers to step up patrols in all sensitive areas.
Like the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, its key ally in the ruling coalition was also found clueless and distanced itself from the province-wide shutdown.
“The Muttahida Qaumi Movement has nothing to do with the closure. We condemn any form of violence," said an MQM spokesman.
HYDERABAD: All business and commercial activities in areas of Hyderabad and Latifabad were suspended on Friday evening following firing into the air by unidentified youths.
Gun-totting bike riders patrolled streets of Hyderabad, Latifabad, Phulleli, Pretabad, Hirabad, cloth market and other localities and fired into the air until all shops, petrol pumps, CNG stations, food outlets and other commercial concerns were shut down.
However, life in Qasimabad remained unaffected.
MIRPURKHAS: Armed youths riding on motorbikes patrolled different localities of the city and fired into the air forcing shopkeepers to shut their business. The firing and sudden closure of the whole city caused panic among residents.
The people also faced hardship due to the sudden closure of petrol pumps and CNG stations.