KARACHI: The otherwise simple Nihari dinner turned into a political battlefield for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Imran Ismail when activists of Muttahida Qaumi Movement surrounded the area and started shouting politically charged slogans.
Ismail, along with PTI lawmaker Arif Alvi and dozens of party activists, visited Javaid Nihari in Federal B Area as part of his election campaign for the upcoming by-poll in NA-246, Azizabad.
|Dr Alvi having Nihari.- Twitter|
But soon after Ismail’s arrival, MQM supporters started gathering outside the restaurant and chanted slogans in favour of their party and its leaders.
PTI activists were quick to reply and soon the situation turned into a political gathering where supporters of both parties started sloganeering against each other and in favour of their leaders.
This was not all. The sloganeering was followed by hurling of eggs at each other.
PTI camp uprooted in Karimabad
Later in the night, supporters from both parties engaged in verbal clashes in Karachi's Karimabad.
The situation almost got out of hand when a heated mob uprooted a PTI election camp located in the area. PTI candidate from NA-246, Imran Ismail, alleged that MQM activists had razed PTI's camp in Karimabad.
It was not until MQM leaders Haider Abbas Rizvi and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui arrived at the scene that the situation came under control. According to reports, Rizvi and Maqbool asked the crowd to move away from the area, while baton-wielding policemen attempted to disperse the crowd.
PTI's election camp was later reared on instructions from MQM leaders present at the scene.
The clash between workers of both parties is a clear violation of the mutually agreed upon code of conduct formulated by party leaders after the Jinnah ground incident.
It all started on Tuesday when a PTI delegation visiting Jinnah ground to review the arrangements for their election rally, planned for April 19, was attacked by MQM workers. The MQM alleged that the PTI delegation tore up banners of Altaf Hussain and desecrated the martyrs’ monument.
Both PTI and MQM had also lodged FIRs against each other following the Jinnah ground clash.
After this, the Sindh governor held a meeting with representatives of both parties on a ‘request’ from MQM chief Altaf Hussain, who then offered PTI the Jinnah ground venue for its April 19 rally but asked for time to make arrangements to secure the martyrs' monument there.
The meeting was attended by PTI’s Dr Arif Alvi and its candidate from NA 246, Imran Ismail, while the MQM was represented by Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and party candidate Kanwar Naveed Jameel.
Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui and city police chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo were also present at the Governor House meeting.
Accompanied by representatives from both parties, Dr Ibad spoke to reporters at Governor House after the meeting and said: “I have requested both parties to refrain from provocation and not to use derogatory words against each other’s leaders.”