KARACHI, Aug 16: The Mazar of Quaid-i-Azam will remain closed to public for the second consecutive day, Thursday, owing to the widespread damage to its interior caused during a free-for-all on the occasion of the Independence Day.
Conducted tours for foreigners, which were scheduled for Wednesday, would also be organised on Thursday.
According to sources, the trouble on Tuesday evening had started following an incident of eve-teasing while the mausoleum was crowded with people paying homage to the Father of the Nation.
Some unruly youth indulged in eve-teasing and when girls raised a hue and cry, some sane people intervened to restrain the trouble-makers. However, the altercation between the two sides took the shape of free-for-all when people around joined in the quarrel, some on the youths’ side and some others on the others’. A fist-fighting ensued which later turned into a battle of bricks. During the battle, several doors of the Mazar, about 60 Bolard lights (along the walkways), more than 20 pole-mounted lights, 40 marble dust bins, 58 flower boxes at lower podium, over 700 running feet of decorative marble lattice, 40 garden benches, and many other things were damaged. The total loss has been estimated at Rs10 million.
Although, there were more than 600 policemen deployed at the Mazar on security duty but an most of them had already left in the morning after the VIP ceremony, attended by Governor Ishratul Ibad and Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, was over.
People were seen desperately seeking police held and it was after their hectic efforts that some police personnel were located and called in. They started a baton-charge to bring the situation under control.
The lawns between M. A. Jinnah Road and Shahrah-i-Quaideen also presented a look of a battle ground with bricks and stone, pieces of broken lights and benches, doors and glass pieces, etc., scattered all around.
Responding to the Dawn’s queries, the duty officer at the Brigade police station said that an FIR of the incident had been registered on the report of Mohammad Arif, Resident Engineer of the Quaid-i-Azam Mazar, against unknown persons. “No one has been arrested so far,” he added.