KARACHI, Jan 16: Protest demonstrations and rallies continued on a second consecutive day in Karachi and other cities of Sindh amid partial shutdowns in a few towns of the province on Wednesday against the Supreme Court order in a multi-billion rental power scam in which the prime minister has also been named.
In Karachi, charged youths took to Sharea Faisal again at the FTC traffic intersection in the evening and burnt tyres, suspending traffic on both tracks and causing serious inconvenience to commuters. As the police stayed at a distance, diverting traffic from Baloch Colony and Nursery to alternative routes, PPP Karachi president and National Assembly member Abdul Qadir Patel rushed to the scene and persuaded the protesters to disperse.
“There was no major incident or violence during the protest,” said the area’s deputy superintendent of police Malik Ahsan. “The situation caused traffic gridlock, which was controlled in less than an hour and the crowd dispersed peacefully in coordination with senior political leaders.”
Protest demonstrations were also held in the Gulbahar area of Nazimabad, Golimar and Safoora Goth, where youngsters blocked the main roads with burning tyres. They also chanted slogans against ‘anti-democratic’ moves and were heard raising slogans against ‘the anti-government long march’ by the Tehreek Minhaj-ul-Quran in Islamabad.
In Umerkot, Pakistan People’s Party activists took out rallies against the Supreme Court order terming it a conspiracy to derail democracy. The main rally, led by PPP taluka president Allah Bachayo Aseer, was taken out from Thar Bazaar to the press club.
“We believe that it’s an organised campaign against the democratically elected government, which is against the people’s will,” said Mr Aseer. “We reject all such moves against the electoral system and condemn all attempts which violate the constitution. The PPP workers would rise to the occasion and resist anti-democratic moves.”
A large number of PPP workers staged a protest rally in the twin towns of Thatta and Makli. Protest demonstrations were also held in Darro, Mirpur Bathoro and Sujawal.
In Thatta, protesters burnt tyres and blocked the National Highway that led to traffic suspension on key link roads for more than two hours. PPP taluka president Hameed Soomro, speaking to the protesters, said history reflected the PPP’s democratic character and the party workers were ready to face any situation.
A partial shutdown was observed in Khairpur as the PPP Youth and Sindh People’s Students Federation activists took out a rally in favour of the government and Prime Minister Ashraf.
Daily life remained suspended in most parts of the city and shops in the main city markets remained closed for the second consecutive day.
A large number of traders later in the day gathered at Punj Gulla Chowk to stage a protest demo against the business closure.
The situation turned normal only after PPP MNA Nafisa Shah made a telephonic contact with the leaders of protesting traders and assured them of security. A delegation sent by Ms Shah later held a meeting with the traders that led to business resumption in most parts of the city.
A complete shutdown was observed in Thull city of Jacobabad district and Mirpur Mathelo city of Ghotki district.
Charged youths were seen roaming in the main Thull markets, including Shahi Bazaar, Dhak Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar, Baloch Colony, Riaz Chowk, Rahbar Chowk and shopping centres asking traders to pull down their shutters. Occasional gunshots were also heard.A clash between protesting youths and traders left half a dozen people injured. The police said the traders resisted forced closure that sparked an exchange of heated argument between the two sides which ended in the clash.
Both sides used sticks and stones which caused serious injuries to Ahsan Ahmed, Sohail Ahmed Mughal and Hussain Ahmed Buriro, said to be PPP workers. Two of them were moved to the Civil Hospital Thull and Hussain Ahmed Buriro was rushed to a Larkana hospital with serious wounds.
Three shopkeepers, Abdul Sami Dayo, Riaz Ahmed Noonari and Abdul Fatah Noonari, wounded in the clash, were moved to the Civil Hospital Thull for treatment. Despite a heavy deployment in different city parts, the police made no arrest.
In Mirpur Mathelo, business activities remained completely suspended. Though no violence was reported in any area, the main commercial centres of the city, including Shahi Bazaar, Mirani Market and G. T. Road, remained closed throughout the day with scant traffic on the roads.