HYDERABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) organised protest demonstrations in many cities and towns of Sindh’s interior on Friday to vent their anger over the arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani on corruption charges.
Mr Durrani was taken into custody by a National Accountability Bureau team in Rawalpindi on Wednesday. NAB brought him to Karachi and obtained his remand for interrogation.
While the top PPP leadership is at work to organise a province-wide protest campaign against NAB, activists and supporters of the party held demonstrations in Hyderabad, Shikarpur, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and other districts.
Scores of PPP activists in Hyderabad gathered at the district council and took out a rally under the leadership of Sagheer Qureshi, Ali Mohammad Sahito, Amanullah Siyal, Fayyaz Ali Shah and others.
Speaking to the participants at the local press club, the leaders said that PPP would not budge from its principled stand on the 18th Constitutional Amendment regardless of the pressure being exerted on its leadership.
They described Mr Durrani’s arrest as an attack on the Sindh Assembly and an attempt to paralyse Sindh.
They said PPP was being forced to go for agitation, and alleged that only this party was being subjected to accountability though people belonging to other parties were also facing NAB references.
They condemned that Mr Durrani’s family members including womenfolk were held hostage for many hours during a search of his house by NAB and law enforcement personnel.
The protesters vowed to resist all undemocratic steps. They called for release of the Sindh Assembly speaker and an apology from NAB for its action.
Meanwhile, All Sindhi Pathan Ittehad activists Azad Khan Khilji, Agha Ibrahim Shah, Zafar Khan, Lala Hameed and others also held a protest demonstration outside the press club for the release of Mr Durrani.
A big demonstration was also held in Nawabshah on Friday to condemn his arrest and harassment of his family by NAB.
Raising slogans for his release, the protesters held a sit-in at a section of the press club road. The protesters were led by Ali Akbar Jamali, Ghulam Shah Leghari, Rashid Chandio, Syed Atif Zaidi and others. They said Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi also faced NAB references but was not being arrested which showed that NAB was being used to victimise PPP.
In Agha Siraj Durrani’s home district, Shikarpur, protest rallies were taken out in the district headquarters, Madeji, Garhi Yasin, Dakhan, Khanpur, Lakhi and several other towns to condemn his arrest.
MPA Mir Abid Hussain Bhayo and other senior party activists led the rally taken out in Shikarpur. The participants held a demonstration outside the local press club where the MPA spoke to them.
In Madeji town, a shutter-down strike was observed in protest against Mr Durrani’s arrest.
PPP activists and supporters in Umerkot also held a demonstration outside the local press club and demanded immediate release of Mr Durrani.
Speaking to them, Manthar Arisar, Burhan Kumbhar, Sufi Nawaz, Noor Jehan Gehlro and others described the NAB action against the Sindh Assembly speaker as unlawful, unethical and undemocratic.
They alleged that NAB was serving as the B-team of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
MNA Mir Munawwar Talpur, speaking to the media in Mirpurkhas on Monday, strongly condemned the speaker’s arrest and termed the NAB action “revengeful”.
He said arrest of Speaker Durrani was a deep-rooted conspiracy against democracy and PPP.
He accused the federal government of using NAB to pressure the PPP leadership to come to its terms. He urged the judiciary to intervene in the matter.
Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2019