Security personnel on Tuesday clashed with marchers protesting government plans to privatise the ailing national airline, a skirmish that a hospital official said killed at least two protesters and injured eight.

Protesters said paramilitary forces fired after a confrontation as security forces tried to block the strikers nearing the airport in Karachi.

But a spokesman for the paramilitary Rangers force and a senior police officer denied that any of their members had fired.

The violence came as hundreds of airline employees held the latest of a months-long series of protests against the plans to privatise Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Police used water cannons and teargas to keep the crowd from approaching the city's Jinnah International Airport before shots were fired.

PIA Employees chant slogans as they march towards the Jinnah International Airport. ─ Reuters
PIA Employees chant slogans as they march towards the Jinnah International Airport. ─ Reuters
A volunteer transports injured employees of PIA during a protest near Jinnah International Airport. ─AFP
A volunteer transports injured employees of PIA during a protest near Jinnah International Airport. ─AFP
PIA employees march during a protest in Karachi. ─AFP
PIA employees march during a protest in Karachi. ─AFP
A paramilitary soldier charges with a wooden baton on PIA employees. ─AFP
A paramilitary soldier charges with a wooden baton on PIA employees. ─AFP
Paramilitary soldiers baton charge on employees of PIA. ─AFP
Paramilitary soldiers baton charge on employees of PIA. ─AFP
PIA employees shout slogans as police use a water cannon on them during a protest near the airport in Karachi.  ─AFP
PIA employees shout slogans as police use a water cannon on them during a protest near the airport in Karachi. ─AFP
PIA employees scuffle with paramilitary soldiers during a protest near Karachi International Airport.
PIA employees scuffle with paramilitary soldiers during a protest near Karachi International Airport.
Protesting PIA employees gather around injured colleagues who were hit by bullets. ─AFP
Protesting PIA employees gather around injured colleagues who were hit by bullets. ─AFP
Saleem Akbar (L) and Inayat Raza (R), the two PIA employees who lost their lives during the protest. ─ Photo courtesy: Twitter
Saleem Akbar (L) and Inayat Raza (R), the two PIA employees who lost their lives during the protest. ─ Photo courtesy: Twitter
MQM leader Rehan Hashmi and JI leader Hafiz Naeem attending Inayat Raza's funeral. ─Photo courtesy: Rehan Hashmi/Twitter
MQM leader Rehan Hashmi and JI leader Hafiz Naeem attending Inayat Raza's funeral. ─Photo courtesy: Rehan Hashmi/Twitter

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Comments (19) Closed

Irfan
Feb 03, 2016 12:13am

I express my condolences to the people who lost their loved ones and the ones who have been injured. And I express my strong protest against the government in mishandling this, political parties that are trying to politicise this event, media that was hungry for a crispy news and by far the main culprit PIA Union that actually misguided, planned and incited employees in making this move.

Look at the numbers ! PIA is dead, killed by ghost employees. Why should I pay from my hard earned tax to PIA employees people get salary for just registering their attendance.

Close the national airline ! We are all happy without it !

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Philosopher (from Japan)
Feb 03, 2016 12:30am

Rip. Very sad indeed. A day of mourning for them who lost their lives for their rights.

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Zubair
Feb 03, 2016 12:42am

Inna Lillahae Wainna Ilaihae Rajeoon. What the fine and dedicated employees ,PIA has lost. Is this the reward of many years of selfless service to the nation. The Govt. must find an amicable solution of the losses in PIA other than Privitisation. Man is always more important than Money.

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Qaisar
Feb 03, 2016 12:49am

Incompetent government. NS government is handling PIA employees thinking they are Ittefaq Faundry's servants.

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Baber Kamal UAE
Feb 03, 2016 12:52am

Why blood shedding, these r our people of Karachi, do not repeat Model town Lahore Jinnah airport killing of 3 innocent educated people, PIA employees are right & wrong but do not treat them these way. What to MCB & HBL who own these by Mansha & Agha Khan group. this will also applying to PIA why not public limited and shares 100 % IPO for PIA. Pls Stop killing power should start first discussion and that is PM and Fin Minist & Def Minist. Stop killing and save Karachi and Pakistan,

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Mustafa Ali Shah
Feb 03, 2016 01:26am

Its beyond my understanding that how efficient this government is at shooting itself in the foot. I am not supporting the protesting party but such hard handed actions are unnecessary, its their democratic right to protest. Ridiculous state of affairs. Wake up people and vote sensibly next time.

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Khan- Pakistani
Feb 03, 2016 03:10am

The dictators and tyrants !

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Waseem
Feb 03, 2016 04:23am

@Mustafa Ali Shah, I totally agree killing weak and old unarmed people is outrageous and over any acceptable limits. This kind of behavior can instigate similar kind of reaction from otherwise innocent people. It also provide opportunity for enemies to provoke these people. We definitely need more sensible people making these decisions and running the country.

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Dare
Feb 03, 2016 05:25am

How can you even consider to privatise those whom you consider as Essential Services?

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ali
Feb 03, 2016 08:58am

Do your job well, and you would have never seen this day..

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asgher
Feb 03, 2016 09:36am

let not this incident divert the attention of the nation from the real thing.

PIA is still an under performing organization and it is due to its mammoth expanses and political hiring. There is a dire need of a revamp if not selling the whole thing. Privatized or not: Surplus and politically hired employees, Silly maintenance and other contracts, Crazy import pricing of spare parts from Favored suppliers Substandard planes

ALL HAVE TO GO!

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Jawadd
Feb 03, 2016 11:56am

these people who are protesting actually ruined PIA for good! kick them out and hire new young people in PIA

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Justwasif
Feb 03, 2016 01:25pm

Utmost sad

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sri1
Feb 03, 2016 02:28pm

@Irfan "Why should I pay from my hard earned tax to PIA employees people get salary for just registering their attendance. " That's exactly what PIA employees seem to be asking - PRIVATIZATION. They do not appear to want their salaries from the barely collected taxes !!

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Justwasif
Feb 03, 2016 03:31pm

uffering.. Suffering every where.. Incompetent and corrupt leaders to deal with since decades..

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Adnan
Feb 03, 2016 05:38pm

Unfortunately, this is the mentality of our ruling elite. They only show their power to unarm people, if they were with arms (doctors, teachers, PIA, etc) , there would have been round of talks.

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rathorew
Feb 03, 2016 06:48pm

@Zubair I am grieved at the loss of life, but let us not anymore clichés about "selfless service," etc. PIA is the most overstuffed airline in the world; many of the employees don't turn up for work; and many of those who do turn up spend that time drinking tea and chatting. This airline does not deserve to exist.

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Dt. Malek Towghi
Feb 04, 2016 02:49am

Nawaz Sharif, an elected Prime Minister or a Martial Law Administrator?

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mudassar
Feb 04, 2016 04:03pm

Airlines strikes are normal, losing jobs is normal in the corporate reality. Work hard and survive. I am sure this is good opportunity for Emirates and Etihad to fill their coffers.

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