KARACHI, July 15: Mourners protesting the assassination of Allama Hasan Turabi turned violent on Saturday as they set on fire over a dozen vehicles and a Pizza Hut outlet.
The violence, which had erupted on Friday night, flared up on Saturday after the funeral prayers of the slain leader in the city.
A fresh wave of violence struck the city as the coffins of Allama Turabi and his nephew proceeded towards the Abbas Town residence of the Allama, where the two were killed in a suicide attack on Friday.
Several petrol stations and a traffic police kiosk were also ransacked by the protesters amid tight security.
The city remained tense on Saturday morning, with police patrolling streets, while major markets, fast-food outlets and cinema-houses remained closed.
Similarly, traffic was also thin as a majority of the petrol stations remained closed. The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal had given a call for strike on Saturday to protest against the killing of Turabi, the vice president of the religious alliance for Sindh.
Angry youths, covering faces, pelted a police mobile with stones on New M.A Jinnah Road. This followed other incidents during the day. The youths went on the rampage, along the route of the funeral procession.
As a segment of the procession reached the Jail Chowrangi, youths opened fire at a petrol station and pelted a number of car show-rooms with stones, damaging several parked vehicles.
On University Road, they set on fire three cars parked at a Caltex petrol pump near old Sabzimandi. A small truck parked along was also damaged.
A car parked in front of the Civic Centre was also set on fire by youths along with three motorcycles.
The protestors also set on fire the Pizza Hut outlet on University Road. Leaping flames created scare in the locality, but no loss of life was reported.
Several people, who remained stranded in the Faysal Bank located adjacent to the Pizza Hut were rescued by DSP Ajaz Hashmi and his men.
Shortly after the incident, fire brigade vehicles reached the spot and controlled the fire which posed danger to a PMT close to the building.
Several cars parked in front of Hasan Centre, and other apartments at Mumtaz Manzil were set on fire by the youth.
An ambulance belonging to the Al-Mustafa Welfare Centre was also set on fire on University Road.
The traffic kiosk located at NIPA intersection was also ransacked by the youths. The law enforcement personal remained on the sidelines and allowed the procession to pass through the area.
DIG Operations Mushtaq Shah, with his associates, accompanied the procession at a distance.
According to the City police chief, Niaz Ahmed Siddiqui, over 5,000 police personnel and paramilitary rangers were deployed for security duties on Saturday.
Police and Rangers troops had started patrolling streets in the city as mourners prepared for the burial of Hassan Turrabi. Security was stepped up at Western consulates and foreign and other sensitive installations. But these measures failed to deter the enraged youth who resorted to rioting and violence.
Traffic remained thin and shops observed a partial closure after a strike-call by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal to protest the killing of Allama Turrabi.
However, main markets, bazaars and business centres, including Saddar, Tariq Road, Hydri, Boultan Market, Jamia Cloth Market, Juna Market and Jodia Bazaar remained closed.