Traffic disrupted as protests against Hazara killings continue at 20 sites in Karachi

Published January 7, 2021
A road is closed off as protests by members of the Shia Hazara community continue in Karachi on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV
A road is closed off as protests by members of the Shia Hazara community continue in Karachi on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV
Two women holding a placard which reads "Give justice or kill us" while protesting in Karachi on Thursday against the killing of Shia Hazara miners in Balochistan. — DawnNewsTV
Two women holding a placard which reads "Give justice or kill us" while protesting in Karachi on Thursday against the killing of Shia Hazara miners in Balochistan. — DawnNewsTV
A police officer questions a motorcyclist looking to pass through a blocked road in Karachi on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV
A police officer questions a motorcyclist looking to pass through a blocked road in Karachi on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV
Shia Muslims gather during a protest against the killing of miners of the Shia Hazara community, who were killed in an attack by gunmen in the mountainous Mach area, in Karachi on Jan 6, 2021. — AFP
Shia Muslims gather during a protest against the killing of miners of the Shia Hazara community, who were killed in an attack by gunmen in the mountainous Mach area, in Karachi on Jan 6, 2021. — AFP

Traffic disruptions were reported in multiple areas of Karachi once again on Thursday as protests and sit-ins against the killing of 11 Shia Hazara miners in Balochistan earlier this week continued for a third day in the metropolis.

Protests were ongoing since 9am at 20 locations in the city, according to a statement by the Karachi Traffic Police.

These areas include:

  • Abbas Town (Abul Hasan Ispahani Road)
  • Kamran Chowrangi at Gulistan-i-Jauhar
  • Powerhouse Chowrangi in North Karachi
  • Numaish (MA Jinnah Road)
  • Sharea Faisal
  • NIPA Chowrangi
  • Malir 15
  • M-9 motorway near the Super Highway

According to a traffic official, Rangers and police have also been deployed to assist the traffic police and ensure law and order in these areas.

Commuters were advised to use alternative routes while those travelling out of Karachi were asked to use the Lyari Expressway or Northern Bypass.

Meanwhile, operations of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) were also affected due to the protests, according to a statement from PIA.

PIA spokesperson Abdullah Khan said traffic congestion on the routes towards the Jinnah International Airport caused difficulty for passengers and staff trying to reach the airport.

Multiple PIA flights from Karachi to Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Faisalabad were either cancelled or delayed by a few hours, according to the PIA, while an international flight, PK-213 from Karachi to Dubai, was also delayed by an hour and a half.

The airline advised passengers to stay in contact with its call centre for flight updates and to set out for flights well before time.

A spokesperson for the Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen, which is also taking part in the protests, told Dawn yesterday that the protestors, including women and children, were there only to express solidarity with the families of the Mach 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.”

This was the third day of protests in Karachi against the Balochistan killings with families and supporters of the slain miners also continuing their sit-in for a fifth straight day in Quetta, demanding justice and refusing to bury the dead unless the premier visits them.

On Sunday, armed attackers slit the throats of 11 miners in a residential compound near a mine site in Balochistan's Mach coalfield area, filmed the entire incident and later posted it online. The gruesome attack was claimed by the militant Islamic State group.

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