KARACHI: A joint meeting of representatives of civil society and trade unions in the office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan pledged to continue their struggle against “forced occupation” of goths and land and demanded release of all political workers arrested after the recent protest against Bahria Town.

As per details, the joint meeting of the representatives of civil society and trade unions was held to discuss in detail the situation after the Bahria Town incident.

The meeting participants said: “The protest of June 6 against the occupation of villages by Bahria Town was a peaceful sit-in and it was attended by people belonging to all ethnic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

“They came to show solidarity with the affected local population and made the sit-in a success,” they added.

“The sit-in was organised by the local communities of Malir against forced occupation of their land and villages and construction on them for commercial purposes.”

“This was a peaceful assembly of people, but just before its end, there were incidents of arson and violence. The organisers of the protest repeatedly announced that they did not belong or support these violent activities. The sit-in speakers also appealed to the law enforcement officials present there to stop and arrest the arsonists. However, the police and private security of the Bahria Town Karachi (BTK) remained silent spectators and let the situation get worse.”

The meeting participants expressed deep concern that the police arrested hundreds of “peaceful political workers and implicated them in anti-terrorism cases”. They condemned this and demanded the release of all arrested political workers immediately and withdrawal of antiterrorism cases against them.

The meeting also showed grave concern over attack on the house of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz chairman Sanan Qureshi and his “illegal” detention.

It also condemned filing of antiterrorism cases against Indigenous Rights Alliance leaders Gul Hassan Kalmati, Khaliq Junejo, Murad Gabol, Jahanzeb Kalmati, and others including Jalal Shah, Zain Shah and Qadir Magsi.

The meeting participants condemned a “conspiracy” of some “anti-people, and anti-Sindh reactionary elements” to fan ethnic, linguistic and sectarian hatred in the garb of the BTK incident.

It said that this was a very dangerous trend and it would be resisted at all costs.

The meeting was of the opinion that this is a pre-planned conspiracy.

“This conspiracy would further suffocate society and create anarchy and chaos.” The meeting expressed complete support and solidarity with those who are struggling to safeguard their resources, land and goths and pledged to raise voice against land-grabbing mafia.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2021

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