— File Photo

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.

More From This Section

Journalist Hamid Mir injured in gun attack in Karachi

The incident took place on Sharae Faisal near Natha Khan area when the gunmen opened fire on his vehicle around 5:30pm

Musharraf lands in Karachi amid tight security

The port city has been on high alert with roads being cordoned off for the former president's security.

Three militants killed in Balochistan‏ violence

Three militants were killed after an attack on a FC patrol in Balochistan's Panjgoor district, an official said.

SC has learnt to bolster democracy, says chief justice

Authority of SC may be extended to a number of areas from which it has historically maintained a distance, said CJ.

Comments are closed.

Comments (27)

raw is war
December 15, 2012 6:42 am
Fear over the city.
P Setra
December 15, 2012 5:58 am
All motorcycles which are being used for all kinds of crimes must be impounded. Does anybody know that a Chinese city just did that, and it worked. Can the government dare to do that to save people?
December 15, 2012 7:42 am
Aren't we trying to prove ourselves too simplistic? We all know which is the most prominent party in these three cities? We all are aware which party has been most impacted by recent Supreme Court rulings related to electoral constituencies? We also can't forget which party behaves like all-powerful pressure-group in these cities which even the law enforcing agencies can't dare to touch?
December 15, 2012 8:14 am
May Allah give us the right people to help change our destiny, amen.
December 15, 2012 7:53 am
This is insane - why can't the media tell the nation that Muthida is behind this shutdown, and the reason. Why are we afraid? Why our local Govt comes out and tell them to stop? Every single person in Khi knows WHO, WHY the mess started....but still no one wants to talk about it. Such a shame....
December 15, 2012 3:00 pm
A nuclear power held hostage by a dozen bikers. Another first for this nation. God help us.
December 15, 2012 6:36 am
Everyone knows who is behind it and everyone knows nothing is going to happen and only innocent keep getting killed.
December 15, 2012 6:52 am
Please do not insult Congo. Cities in that country are still much safer than the cities in Pakistan.
December 15, 2012 7:22 am
including our so called goverment
December 15, 2012 7:19 am
This is a response to SC notice to Altaf Hussain. Then MQM supporters insist that it is not a terror outfit. Why is it terrorizing the people of Karachi?
faisal khan
December 15, 2012 7:09 am
Here media have no courage to speak out and every kid knows who is behind the scene than what individual person will do.
December 15, 2012 7:51 am
who will tell you . the corrept police from PUNJAB
December 15, 2012 6:18 am
everyone knows
December 15, 2012 4:56 am
Don't be such an ignorant? Everybody knows who are these unidentified youths. Allah will ask you on the judgment day. Hiding crime is also sin and you will be punished for it InshaAlalh...
December 15, 2012 4:41 am
Would anyone like to tell who these 'unidentified youths' were? Where is the wretched state? It seems like we are living in Congo.
Cyrus Howell
December 15, 2012 11:10 am
Everyone also knows why nothing is going to happen. Pakistani women need to pick up the rifle and get out of the kitchen to join the fight.
Cyrus Howell
December 15, 2012 11:07 am
Oh. You are right. War begins as mass insanity. Something like attacking and burning down cinemas in the name of God.
December 15, 2012 6:09 am
This beautiful country is taken hostage by a group of thugs. People are too afraid to stand up to them.
Cyrus Howell
December 15, 2012 11:14 am
The Japanese are going to be very upset.
Cyrus Howell
December 15, 2012 11:13 am
Young people enjoy a good war. No jobs? No money? No wives? Have a nice day.
Cyrus Howell
December 15, 2012 11:13 am
December 15, 2012 6:27 am
we should connect the dots
salma hasan
December 15, 2012 4:09 am
there is no hope for karachi. period
December 15, 2012 4:04 am
One can witness organized-criminology which is prevailing everywhere in karachi.
December 15, 2012 10:00 pm
What has happened to the people of Sindh Province? Are they incompetent to manage the security of their own province that they have to get security staff from other province i.e police, judges, beuracrats etc. Grow up people of Sindh Province and manage your own affairs on security to protect all people living in Sindh province.
December 17, 2012 11:45 am
We are born to live in fear and always criticize other countries......
December 16, 2012 6:48 am
It is evident that MQM has some responsibility regarding the violence in Sindh. The people of Karachi are too blind to see this.
Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
From The Newspaper