KARACHI, May 22: Condemning gun attacks on the ‘Love Sindh Rally’ on Tuesday, the Awami Tehreek called for the observance of a day of mourning and a province-wide shutter-down on Wednesday against what it described as a repeat of the May 12 mayhem.
Speaking at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club shortly after the attack on the rally, AT chief Ayaz Lateef Palijo called for the immediate arrest of the ‘terrorists’ involved in the attack and award of exemplary punishment to them under the law.
He urged Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of the killings.
He said most Urdu-speaking people did not believe in terrorism and loved peace. He urged them to stand up and be counted in support of those killed.
He asked Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaders to announce that the innocent people killed in the rally were their brothers and sisters and condemn the killers.
Mr Palijo appealed to the mourners to ensure that their protest and mourning remained peaceful and that not a single Urdu-speaking person in the interior of Sindh was harmed. Their security and safety was the responsibility of all democracy- and peace-loving people in general, he said, asking the protesters to ensure that no government property was damaged.
He said the Sindhis were peace-loving people but there were some elements among the youth who began talking about cutting off highway traffic to suspend supplies of essential goods to Karachi when they heard the demand for a division of Sindh. He said the people still remembered that there was a breakdown of law and order in Sindh following the killing of Benazir Bhutto and the supplies of essential goods to the metropolis remained suspended for nearly a week.
At present such extremist elements were in minority but they would gain strength if the atrocities continued and saner elements were pushed to the wall, he warned, highlighting the need to take steps so that such a situation would not arise.
He blamed the Pakistan People’s Party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the police for the killings in the rally. He said that police escorting the rally vanished all of a sudden and terrorists started indiscriminate firing soon afterwards.
Earlier, Uzair Jan Baloch of the People’s Amn Committee addressing the participants in the rally said the people of Lyari would not allow the sinister plan of Sindh’s division to succeed.
He said over 40 innocent people were killed in the recent Lyari operation which he said had been launched to please a partner in the PPP-led coalition government.
Former senator Abdul Hayee Baloch said the situation in Sindh was similar to that of Balochistan, but the Baloch people would always stand with their Sindhi brethren in their hour of need and they together would foil all conspiracies against Sindh. He said the division of Sindh would not be allowed at any cost.
ANP seeks judicial inquiry
The Awami National Party has condemned the firing on a peaceful rally and urged the authorities and the judiciary to take action and ensure arrest of and stern punishment to the culprits.
In a statement issued from Bacha Khan Markaz on Tuesday, Sindh ANP chief Senator Shahi Syed said the terrorist act that left 10 people dead and over 30 wounded reflected on the May 12 carnage. “If the terrorists involved in the May 12 incident had been caught and punished, the May 22 massacre would not have taken place,” he said, seeking a judicial inquiry into the tragedy.
There should be no compromise on peace for the sake of reconciliation policy, he said, adding that bold decisions would have to be taken to restore durable peace to the city.
He said if the authorities did not change their attitude, such disasters would recur. The rally was being taken out against the division of Sindh and Lyari operation, he said, adding that the issue of Sindh’s division had been raised to foment unrest.