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HYDERABAD, March 16: The Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz has given a 24-hour ultimatum to the authorities that if the three party leaders, who were arrested by the Karachi police in a midnight raid on March 15, were not released, the party would initiate a series of protest demonstrations and hunger strikes throughout the province.

Speaking at a news conference at the media centre of the party here on Saturday, the former chairman and party ideologue, Abdul Wahid Aresar, said that Serai Qurban Khohawar, joint secretary of the party, Munir Shah, and Munzoor Jatoi, had gone to Karachi to attend a seminar against the construction of the Thal canal organized by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement on March 14 and to discuss a joint strategy by the two parties against the Thal canal.

He said that last night he was informed by the acting chairman of the party, Shafi Karnani, on telephone that the three party leaders had been arrested by the police.

He alleged that initially the police negotiated a deal with the arrested leaders but when they refused to pay money, they were booked as car-lifters on the complaint of a police tout, Jawed Bhutto.

Mr Aresar said that whenever the JSQM launched a movement on some national issues, its leaders were implicated in crimes to defame them.

Referring to the continued protest over the Thal canal, he said that the people of Sindh were fighting a battle of life and death and they should not be compelled to wage a war. He added that the protest against the canal could not be stopped by arresting nationalist leaders.

Answering a question about the claim of Punjab to have released 15,000 cusecs water as a gesture of goodwill, he said that the poor rulers of Sindh were beggars as they were expressing gratitude to Punjab for the charity but they were not in a position to get the due share of Sindh’s water.