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Uzair Baloch
Uzair Baloch speaks to reporters in Lyari – Photo by Hussain Afzal/Dawn.com

KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s grip on its Lyari vote bank has weakened, according to Uzair Baloch, head of the banned Peoples Aman Committee (PAC).

Baloch, who is a central figure in the on-going battle between PAC and the police in the troubled neighbourhood of Karachi, claims that the ruling party is no longer favoured by the locals.

“I have been in touch with several political parties to form an alliance for the upcoming elections, but a final decision will be taken by elders of the committee (PAC),” Baloch told Dawn.com.

“I can assure you, there is no future for PPP in Lyari.”

Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Sindh leader Raja Saeed met with  Baloch, and also expressed solidarity with the people of Lyari.

The police-versus-PAC operation was suspended by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Friday, on “humanitarian grounds,” allowing the locals freedom to move but Malik said the government is determined to wipe out the terrorists.

Baloch, however, alleges the police of “detaining 1.7 million people of Lyari for more than seven days.”

“The ruling party and police have made us the victims only because we registered an FIR in the Sakhi ullah Pathan case against Chaudhry Aslam and Nabeel Gabol,” Baloch claimed, adding that the FIR has not been reported yet, despite orders from ADC Abdur Razzak.

Baloch vowed to take the “Lyari case” to the highest court of the country and hoped for a favourable response from the chief justice.

“We hope that Chief Justice of Pakistan and Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court will bring justice to the people of Lyari.”

Despite PAC’s standoff with security personnel involved in the operation, Baloch said he would welcome Rangers or Pakistan Army, if they were to carry out an operation in the area.

“Police kill ordinary people,” he complained, adding that two people were killed in Afshani Gali on the pretext of terrorism but they were actually “innocent residents of the area.”

The police, meanwhile, claim that the “criminals” are using modern arms, such as assault rifles, rocket propelled grenades and even night vision goggles.

These weapons, the law-enforcers claim, have been stolen from containers carrying arms for the Nato forces deployed in Afghanistan. PAC’s chief, however, denies the allegation.

“We are poor but not thieves,” Baloch insisted.

It has also been reported that several members of the Lyari gangs have teamed up with the security personnel. Cellular services were also suspended in the area on Monday, in order to minimize co-ordination among the gang-members.

“(Our) rivals have joined hands with the police and they are fighting against us with covered faces,” Baloch.

The PAC has vowed to continue fighting for the “people of Lyari.”

It remains to be seen when this operation, year’s second and already seven-day long, will come to an end.