HYDERABAD, Feb 24: The statement of Sindh Senior Minister Pir Mazharul Haq against establishing a university in Hyderabad drew spontaneous reaction from people in different cities of the province on Sunday.
In Hyderabad, people kept their businesses closed without any formal call of strike.
A 40-year-old man, Mohammad Sadiq, son of Mohammad Usman, received bullet injuries in his left hand when a stray bullet hit him within the remit of the Hali Road police station. He was shifted to Liaquat University Hospital (LUH), Hyderabad branch, but discharged after treatment, according to medico-legal officer Dr Waseem Khan. He was a resident of Makrani Para.
Reports said some people had blocked a section of Auto Bhan road and some residents of the area forced them to lift the blockade. Meanwhile, some shots were fired, hitting Sadiq. No major incident of violence was reported from any part of the city. However, some miscreants raised barricades on roads and lit bonfires. A complete wheel-jam and shutter-down strike was observed against the statement of the minister during the Sindh University convocation on Saturday.
Political parties including the MQM and Jamaat-i-Islami also severely criticised the statement.
All main markets, bazaars and shopping centres, including Chandni Shopping Centre, Gul Centre, Resham Bazaar, Shahi Bazaar, Timber Market, Cloth Market, Fakir Ka Pir, Risala Road, Station Road and others, remained closed. However, shops in Qasimabad were open.
Thin vehicular traffic was witnessed on the roads in Latifabad and Hyderabad. Some miscreants resorted to aerial firing and burnt old tyres on roads and at roundabouts.
There was no formal call for strike by the MQM. Local traders’ group led by Saleem Vohra sent text messages for observing a strike against the minister’s statement. Traders also participated in a protest staged outside the local press club by the MQM.
People from different areas staged protest demonstrations outside the press club, demanding establishment of a university in Hyderabad. Activists of Jamaat-i-Islami led by Sheikh Shaukat also staged a protest in front of the press club in favour of establishment of a university.
Activists of the MQM also staged a big rally that started from Haider Chowk and marched to the local press club led by party MNA Salahuddin, MPA Syed Waseem Ahmed, zonal-in-charge Mohammad Sharif and former MNA Tayyab Hussain and other members of the zonal committee.
They condemned the statement of Pir Mazharul Haq and demanded his resignation, urging the PPP leadership to take notice of such statements which could cause differences among the people of Sindh and destroy the peaceful atmosphere of the province. They appealed to Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take a suo motu notice of such statements.
They said MQM leader Altaf Hussain had played an important role in bridging the gulf between Urdu- and Sindhi-speaking communities in the province. They said the education minister was trying to fan hatred in Sindh and deprive students of Hyderabad of their basic rights to get higher education.
They said they had been fighting for setting up a university in Hyderabad and enforcing an LG law for five years. They said a conspiracy was being hatched to deprive not only rural but urban population of Sindh of education but it would be foiled.
JUP: Condemning the statement, Jamiate Ulema Pakistan Sindh deputy general secretary Nazim Arain demanded an apology from Pir Mazhar and urged President Asif Ali Zardari to remove him.
SUKKUR: Workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement took out a rally also in Jacobabad on Sunday in protest against the statement.
According to reports, the workers took out the rally from MQM’s district office and reached the local press club after marching on different roads. In front of the press club, they raised slogans and staged a sit-in against the statement, suspending traffic on the DC office road.
MQM leaders, including Muhammad Anwer Sial, Arbab Ali Buledi, Zafar Ali Buriro, Ghulam Sarwar Monhjo and Karim Bux Pathan, addressed the participants.
They said the education minister should tell what steps he had taken to vacate schools used by influential people in Sindh as Otaqs and cattle pans.
They threatened to launch strong protests if such statements were issued in future.
A similar protest was held by workers of MQM in Sukkur.
NAWABSHAH: Here MQM activists also took out a rally and held a protest demonstration outside the local press club against the alleged biased statement of Pir Mazhar.
Carrying banners, the activists started the rally from the party’s zonal office and after passing through different roads, reached the press club.
Activists of MQM’s labour division, women wing and APMSO also participated in the protest.
Addressing the protesters, zonal in-charge of Nawabshah Shiraz Masood Khan said the approach of Pir Mazhar was biased and against the unity of Sindh.
He described the statement a conspiracy to create a divide between the urban and rural population of Sindh, which was highly condemnable.
He said the people of Sindh would never accept any such division.
MIRPURKHAS: Hundreds of MQM workers and office-bearers of Mirpurkhas zone took out a rally from the zonal office.
Led by zonal in-charge Fareed Ahmed Khan, the protesters marched on different roads and reached the local press club where they held a meeting. They were raising slogans against the education minister.
Addressing the protesters, member of Sindh university syndicate Rais Ahmed Khan alleged that Pir Mazharul was the main hurdle in spreading education in the province because he and his family members were selling jobs in the education department.
He said the MQM would establish educational institutions throughout Pakistan without any discrimination.
He demanded the authorities concerned to take notice of his statement and replace him (Pir Mazharul Haq) from the ministry.
Ms Esharat, in-charge of MQM ladies wing of Mirpurkhas zone, strongly condemned the statement and said the MQM would establish universities in different parts of Sindh under the leadership of Altaf Hussain.
MPA Faheem Altafi accused the education minister of dividing Sindh by spreading hatred among people.
Noor Muhammad Jadgal said Sindhi people were getting rights under the leadership of Altaf Hussain and urged the government to remove the minister from the ministry and office of the PPP.
Former Naib Nazim of Mirpurkhas Zila Dr Zafar Ahmed Kamali said Pir Mazharul Haq was creating hurdles in establishment of more universities in Sindh.