KARACHI: Major opposition parties on Sunday condemned the Pakistan Peoples Party-led provincial government and Sindh police for failing to stop miscreants from torching restaurants, offices, vehicles, etc in Bahria Town Karachi (BTK) in the garb of a protest organised by nationalist parties.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail also expressed his concern over the Sindh police and said that the inspector general of police had failed to take preventive measures despite getting prior reports of a possible breakdown of law and order.
On Sunday afternoon, participants in a protest demonstration organised by the Sindh Action Committee against BTK on Superhighway turned violent when they entered the premises, torched a main gate, two restaurants, many offices and vehicles besides ransacking properties.
Muttahida demands strict action
In their reaction to the violence, senior MQM-P leaders held a press conference at their temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad and raised questions over what they called the criminal silence of the Sindh government and alleged that government was patronising the miscreants.
“We have no connection with Bahria Town management but we cannot stay silent over the organised attacks on the businesses and properties of people of Karachi who suffered huge monetary losses and mental agony due to the violence,” said senior leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan.
He wondered what loss the protesters had caused to the government or the owners of the Bahria Town by resorting to violence and targeting innocent residents.
Questioning the role of the Sindh police, the MQM-P leaders demanded the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) and the army chief to remove the IGP and chief secretary, book all the miscreants, their facilitators and organisers under anti-terror law and arrest them at the earliest.
They said that the government should compensate the losses of BTK residents.
Federal Minister for IT & Telecom Aminul Haque said that as to why the police took no action against those who raised anti-Pakistan slogans and resorted to violence.
“We demand that the federal government take steps for the security and protection of residents of urban Sindh,” he said.
PTI asks CJP to take suo motu notice
City president of PTI Khurram Sher Zaman demanded that the CJP take suo motu notice of the incidents of violence, arson and hooliganism at Bahria Town Karachi.
In a statement issued here on Sunday evening, he said that the Sindh government was nowhere to be seen while thousands of residents of the sprawling gated community underwent mental trauma due to the violence.
He criticised the IGP for failing to maintain order and said that strict action should be taken against miscreants as their crime fell within the ambit of anti-terrorism law.
Mr Sher Zaman demanded that the Sindh government pay compensation to all the affected people whose offices, vehicles, etc were set on fire.
He said that it was the job of the government and local administration to address the genuine grievances of the protesters.
PSP terms Jeay Sindh PPP’s military wing
The Pak Sarzameen Party also strongly condemned incidents of violence and terrorising people in the name of a protest demonstration.
“The PSP holds responsible the biased and incompetent government of Pakistan Peoples Party for today’s unfortunate events,” a party statement said, adding: “The government inaction has proved that Jeay Sindh organisations are the military wing of the PPP.”
The party demanded that strict action be taken against those involved in violence and the Sindh government pay compensation to the victims.
Mohajir Qaumi Movement, better known as MQM-Haqiqi, chairman Afaq Ahmed condemned the violence in BTK and questioned as to why the Sindh government remained a silent spectator the whole day.
He said that thousands of people chanted anti-Pakistan slogans, torched properties and vehicles but no institution took any action against them. “Institutions do not allow the Mohajir community to stage protests for their legitimate demands, but they remained silent when, on several occasions, nationalist parties took out rallies and chanted anti-Pakistan slogans,” he said.
He said today Bahria Town came under attack and tomorrow other Mohajir localities might face similar attacks. “We are peace loving people but no one should consider it our weakness,” he warned.
He invited the MQM-P and Pak Sarzameen Party to join hands to work for the rights of Mohajir community.
Meanwhile, Voice of Karachi chairman Nadeem Nusrat also condemned the violence and stressed the need for unity among all Mohajir factions for the sake of community’s safety.
He said that if state institutions ignored the latest violent episode, this would give rise to the impression that state was helpless in front of those talking about creation of Sindhudesh.
JI questions role of police, Rangers
City chief of the Jamaat-i-Islami Hafiz Naeemur Rehman questioned as to where were police, Rangers and other law enforcement agencies when miscreants were creating a law and order situation in Bahria Town.
Speaking at a press conference on Sunday evening, he said that same chemicals used in today’s violence in Bahria Town were also used in the violent incidents of December 27, 2007 after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
“The violence did no damage to the Bahria Town management but it caused financial losses to the people of Karachi and Sindh,” he said, adding that it was the responsibility of Malik Riaz to complete the Bahria Town project and the government was bound to implement the judgement of the Supreme Court.
Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2021