FixIt founder Alamgir Khan among 48 workers released on bail following clashes during protest in Karachi

Published July 28, 2019
The police have registered a first information report (FIR) against the legislator and 38 other persons over charges of riots, attack on police and injuring the officers. — PTI
The police have registered a first information report (FIR) against the legislator and 38 other persons over charges of riots, attack on police and injuring the officers. — PTI

Alamgir Khan, the founder of the #FixIt campaign and a National Assembly member who belongs to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, was arrested by the police on Sunday in Karachi after he tried to hold a protest outside the residence of Minister for Local Government Saeed Ghani.

Later in the day, the police released the PTI MNA along with 38 other FixIt-PTI workers from Frere police station and nine PPP workers from Defence police station, according to SSP South Sheeraz Nazeer.

They were all released on bail since the sections of Pakistan Penal Code invoked against both PTI and PPP workers were "bailable offences", added the senior officer.

Frere police officer, Shahid Amin, had earlier told Dawn that the police have registered a first information report (FIR) against the legislator and 38 other persons over charges of riots, attack on police and injuring the officers.

Amin had added that the case has been registered under Sections 147, 148, 149, 337(A)(i), 353, and 427 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The incident took place when Khan and his supporters clashed with PPP workers as the former moved towards Ghani's house to hold a demonstration against "water and sewerage issues" faced by Karachi. Police intervened after matters escalated and, according to Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South Sharjeel Kharal, were "compelled" to resort to a baton charge.

According to the executive director of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Dr Seemin Jamali, two police officers — a DSP and SHO from Preedy station — and five civilians were brought in for treatment at the hospital. All were discharged after being administered first medical aid.

The DIG South contended that the activists had announced that they would hold a protest outside the minister's residence when the "designated" place for press conferences and demonstrations was the Karachi Press Club. He further said that the police had reports that the protesters planned to throw garbage outside the minister's house.

Saqib Awan, an activist who is part of the FixIt movement, claimed that the PPP workers attacked the protesters with sticks when the latter were headed towards Ghani's house. Awan also accused the police of "joining hands" with the PPP workers and behaving in a partisan manner. Kharal denied the accusation of being partisan and said that PPP workers were also among the arrested.

Awan told Dawn that FixIt activists had announced "two or three days ago" that they would hold a protest outside the minister's house over problems pertaining to water and sewerage in the city because, despite being the chairman of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Ghani had not made any efforts to address water-related problems.

Awan alleged that PPP workers and police had "laid a siege" around the minister's house in order to deter protesters. He further claimed that the PPP workers had attacked the demonstrators without provocation.

Meanwhile, Ghani, in a conversation with the media, said: "We have not stopped anyone from holding a protest as it is the right of every political worker but hooliganism will not be tolerated."

He claimed that eight PPP workers were injured in the clashes.

Later that evening, Ghani visited Defence police station where the PPP workers were being held and expressed solidarity with them.

"Political workers are never ones to fear being jailed. The way the workers have been wrongfully detained will not dampen our spirits," he had vowed.

He had said that he will approach the courts for the release of the workers.

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