KARACHI, July 14: Five buses and a petrol station were set ablaze as violence broke out in Karachi in the aftermath of Allama Hasan Turabi's assassination.
Shops and markets pulled down shutters and roads were blocked as demonstrators clashed with police and vented their anger by destroying and burning property.
The affected areas included Abbas town, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Soldier Bazaar, F B area and Sohrab Goth.
In Abbas Town, soon after the incident, people came out and blocked main Abul Hasan Isphani Road.
Initially law-enforcing agencies were denied access to the area as residents accused the police of being tardy in their arrival on the scene.
"The police arrived one-and-a-half hours after the incident", said Shahid, an area resident. Later on police and agency officials visited the site of the blast and a number of police mobiles took up positions on Isphani Road.
Despite police presence, armed youth closed down all markets in the area and resorted to aerial firing near a bakery opposite the Bhayani Heights.
Similar scenes were witnessed in Gulshan-i-Iqbal as most of Block-7 remained deserted. Traffic was diverted from Gulshan Chowrangi as the intersection was blocked by armed youths.
As tension prevailed, restaurants and shops on main Allama Shabbir Ahmed Osmani Road and adjoining areas, pulled down shutters.
The major violence, however, was witnessed in the Soldier Bazaar area near Mazar-i-Quaid as demonstrators clashed with police and pelted vehicles with stones on vehicles on main Numaish Chowrangi.
Dozens of young men came out from the adjoining area and blocked the main Numaish Chowrangi.
Chanting slogans, they proceeded to damage billboards and traffic lights in the vicinity. Soon after the police arrived on the scene and resorted to teargas shelling to control the situation. However, the incensed youth refused to refrain from their activities. They pelted the police with stones and also resorted to firing. Soon after the law-enforcement agencies left the area, leaving the protestors to carry on their activities.
According to witnesses, they proceeded to set the billboards and several tyres on fire. Three public transport vehicles, a coach, a mini-bus and a 4-K route bus, were set ablaze on main Numaish chowangi, along with the PSO petrol pump on MA Jinnah road opposite Imambargah Ali Raza.
Another 2-D route bus was set on fire on Soldier Bazaar intersection, off Britto road. Due to the violence traffic remained suspended on M A Jinnah, Nishtar and Britto roads, and commuters going back to their homes from work faced great difficulty.
Till the filing of this report, violence had not abated.
In Ancholi and FB Area, protestors came out on roads pelted the vehicles with stones. They also burnt some tyres, thus blocking the main road, and ransacked and set ablaze a bus. However, the police moved and brought the situation under control. A similar situation was witnessed in Sohrab Goth, as protestors blocked the road and pelted vehicles. However, the police moved in and brought the situation under control in both the localities.
The vehicular traffic, which remained suspended during this rampage, resumed soon after in the area. However, all commercial activities remained suspended in the vicinity.
Till the filing of this report, reports of sporadic incidents of violence were reported from various parts of the city. The authorities, however, maintained that order had been restored in the metropolis.
The CCPO, Additional IG Niaz Ahmed Siddiqui said: "We are constantly in touch with the Shia Ulema Council, and the law and order situation is largely under control in the city.
Some incidents of violence have taken place at Numaish, but the over -all situation is under control".