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Death of minor girl in Karachi road accident sparks protests

Updated November 24, 2017
Footage of the accident.

Reckless driving on Karachi's busy M.A. Jinnah Road on Friday morning took the life of a minor girl, triggering anger among the people who set two buses on fire before the arrival of law enforcers who took 11 protesters into custody over rioting charges as the drivers of both vehicles managed to escape, officials said.

The five-year-old girl was on her way to school with her father on a motorbike when a passenger bus collided with the bike. The girl's father sustained injuries in the accident.

The police attributed the cause of the accident to rash driving.

According to Saddar Superintendent Police Tauqeer Mohammed Naeem, two public transport buses were racing against each other. When they reached near Mama Parsi School, the 4-K route bus tried to overake another bus on the wrong side of the street, hitting the motorbike and injuring Sakeena, 5, and her father, Huzaifa.

They were transported to nearby Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi where doctors pronounced the girl dead on arrival, additional police surgeon, Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi said. Huzaifa was admitted to the trauma centre for treatment.

The incident enraged people in the area as the drivers of the both buses escaped. A charged mob set both vehicles on fire, completely destroying them, a Fire Brigade official said.

The driver of the bus, identified as Muhammad Salim, was arrested Friday evening, SSP Javed Akbar Riaz announced. The official said the owner of the bus had also been detained.

Rioting breaks out

According to a police statement, the Preedy station reported that the accident took place at about 7:30am. As a reaction, "aggressive people" set a coach on fire, blocked the road and damaged transport, the statement said.

A Fire Brigade official said they received information about torching of the buses at about 8:58 am.

They sent one fire tender but the mob allegedly manhandled the firemen and pelted stones at the fire tender, forcing them to turn back.

The fireman said that three police mobiles led by the area deputy superintendent police were present at the site but they did not intervene to prevent the mob from attacking the firemen.

Subsequently, firemen arrived at 9:17 am and got the fire under control under the supervision of the Rangers.

Saddar SP Tauqeer Naeem said the police detained 11 protesters over charges of rioting.

He added the police would obtain CCTV footage from the area to ascertain the identity of the held suspects and if all were found involved in arson, a case would be registered against them, otherwise the innocent bystanders would be released.

Inspector General Police AD Khawaja has taken notice of media reports on the incident and asked the deputy inspector general (DIG) south and the DIG Traffic to submit detailed inquiry reports on the matter, and summoned them separately.