KARACHI: Five opposition parties announced on Saturday that they would observe a ‘Black Day’ on Tuesday against ‘heavy-handedness’ applied by a ‘fascist’ provincial government against ‘peaceful protesters’.

Addressing charged protesters gathered outside the Karachi Press Club, the leaders of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H) said even women protesters were subjected to cruel and harsh treatment and taken into custody to foil a ‘peaceful’ demonstration.

Jamaat-i-Islami city chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman along with four other parties’ leaders said that their supposed rival party, Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan, had got only 100,000 votes in the city while the mandate of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had been ‘snatched’ in the general elections.

He alleged that the mandate of the PTI and JI was stolen by the PPP and MQM in the largest city of the country.

Speaking to protesters, PTI-Sindh president Haleem Adil Sheikh said their 30 seats had been ‘snatched’ in the city.

He said those who introduced the culture of ‘gunny bags of bodies’ and targeted killings in the city were being ‘imposed’ on the masses again.

He claimed that pre-poll rigging was conducted through delimitation and not allowing judges to become ROs, DROs and not deploying army to provide security during elections.

Rigging was conducted on polling day and their political agents were ‘taken away’ and the communication system in the country was suspended, he added.

He said on Saturday they were prevented from holding a peaceful protest after ‘closing’ all roads and disrupting the ‘nerve centre’ of the city and blocking Sharea Faisal.

SUP chief Zain Shah alleged that the PPP and other parties were ‘facilitated’ by the Election Commission of Pakistan, judiciary and establishment in the elections. In his address, GDA secretary general Dr Safdar Abbasi said women workers of Sindhiani Tehreek (women wing) of Qaumi Awami Tehreek (QAT) were arrested and manhandled, which was a condemnable act.

Detained workers released

Mazhar Rahujo of the QAT said he along with several other workers were released from ‘illegal custody’ of the police when a local magistrate on the appeal of Karachi Bas Association secretary Ikhtiar Ali Channa and others raided a police station.

He said as part of the GDA protest, when they reached near the KPC at around 11am, the police resorted to tear gas shelling and baton charge.

He said some women protesters who attempted to move towards the assembly were manhandled by lady police officers. He said a total of 75 workers, including women, were detained.

He said several workers, including himself, were ‘illegally detained’ at the Artillery Maidan police where the magistrate conducted a raid and got them released from ‘habeas corpus’.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2024

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