Policewomen escort Dr Fouzia Siddiqui after her arrest during Pasban protest rally for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui at Abdullah Haroon road in Karachi on Friday. – Photo by PPI

KARACHI: Police on Friday baton-charged and used water cannons to disperse a protest rally of Pasban that intended to march towards the US Consulate in Karachi to raise the issue of detention of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

About a dozen protest leaders including sister of the detained Pakistani Dr Fouzia Siddiqui were arrested.

Police applied baton-charge and lobbed teargas shells to the rally besides firing shots in air at Abdullah Haroon Road in Saddar area.

Police took into custody Pasban president Altaf Shakoor and Dr Siddiqui along with a dozen other Pasban activists for attempting to enter the “red zone” of the metropolis.

Pasban had announced to besiege the US consulate in protest to highlight the plights of Dr Aafia, presently languishing in a US jail.

The protestors had earlier gathered at Masjid-e-Khizra at 3.30pm, next to Sindh High Court, carrying placards and banners inscribed with anti-US sentiments and chanting slogans against the government for dealing the matter with hands-off approach.

A Pasban spokesman expressed strong resentment over arrest of their leaders and demanded of the police to immediately release them.

He said their rally was completely peaceful. However, police deliberately developed a chaotic situation after opening aerial firing and using water cannon.

He said Pasban workers were extremely agitated on brutal use of force by the police, warning if the arrested leaders were not released the administration would be responsible for law and order situation.

In a latest development, the arrested leaders, including Dr Fauzia, were released by the authorities.