KARACHI: While the members of Balochistan’s Shia Hazara community refused to bury the bodies of the miners killed in a brutal attack in Mach demanding visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan, sit-ins in Karachi continued for the fourth consecutive day and organisers further expanded them to other parts of the city. The demonstrators called for immediate action from the federal and provincial governments.
The protests also badly crippled city life, hitting the traffic movement and forcing rescheduling of a few flights. Rail and air traffic was seriously affected owing to the sit-ins being staged at different places in the city to express solidarity with the Mach victims. The sit-ins were expanded to a number of neighbourhoods including Sharea Faisal, Malir 15 and Teen Talwar, in the city, blocking traffic on main roads. The main sit-in was being held at Numaish.
‘The protestors are peaceful and only seeking their constitutional right’
The outrage over the Mach incident erupted all over the city with people expressing solidarity with the Hazara community and demanding immediate steps to punish the culprits. The spokesman for the Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen said the protestors including women and children were there only to express solidarity with the families of the victims.
“They are peaceful and only seeking their constitutional right,” he said. “The protests have been joined by people from all walks of life and beyond their sectarian or political association. They all are united in these testing times for Hazara community. We demand the government and Prime Minister Imran Khan to play their due role before it’s too late.”
The MWM leaders while addressing the sit-ins vowed that the protest would continue till the next decision of the central leaders. They said that the demands of the heirs of Mach tragedy were legitimate and should be accepted.
“The global terrorist organisation ISIS and its tool Lashkar-i-Jhangvi were involved in this barbarism,” said Allama Sadiq Jafari, secretary general, MWM Karachi. “Foreign hands are patrons of banned religious parties unless effective action is taken against them. Until then, law and order cannot be established. This is not the first attack on the Hazara tribe. Leaders of the banned parties openly issue fatwas for killings. Why action is not taken against them according to the Constitution and law of the country?”
A traffic official said that the sit-ins were staged at several places across the city, including Abbas Town (Abul Hasan Ispahani Road), Kamran Chowrangi at Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Powerhouse Chowrangi in North Karachi, Numaish (M.A. Jinnah Road), Sharea Faisal and Malir 15. One track of Sharea Faisal was also closed for traffic, he said.
“Similarly, the road leading from Capri Cinema to Gurumandir was closed for traffic and [people were] directed to use the Soldier Bazaar route,” he added. “The deployment of the traffic officials has been enhanced who are backed by the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh and Karachi police. If the protest continues on Thursday, the traffic police would announce alternative route plan for the motorists early in the morning.”
Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2021