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Crackdown on opponents on eve of PPP public meeting

October 14, 2012

HYDERABAD, Oct 14: A crackdown on political activists and suspected criminal elements was launched in various cities and towns of Sindh on Sunday apparently to preempt violent attacks feared to be carried out to sabotage what is being described as ‘a mammoth public meeting’ organised by the Pakistan People’s Party here on Monday.

Leaders of various nationalist parties, mainly those forming the Sindh Bachayo Committee, claimed that their several dozen activists had been rounded up, and claimed that the aim was to sabotage the province-wide ‘black day’ on Monday for which they had already given a call.

According to Sindh Taraqqi-pasand Party (STP) secretary-general Dr Rajab Memon, the party’s Mirpurkhas district president Budho Keerio and dozens of other activists belonging to different nationalist parties and groups had been picked up.

Condemning the crackdown, he said that PPP was using government resources to “celebrate the passage of the controversial local government law that paves the way for a division of Sindh”.

“PPP has is no more a democratic party of Benazir Bhutto; for the first time its mandate has become controversial”, he remarked.

Awami Tehreek president Ayaz Latif Palijo told Dawn that over 240 activists of his party had been rounded up. “We will also be observing a ‘black day’ on Monday against the PPP public meeting. In fact, the PPP meeting is celebration of Sindh’s division,” he said.

Mr Palijo said that his party intended to enlist participants of the PPP meeting for which arrangements had been made in all districts. People of Sindh should take notice of the language used by the chief minister and other PPP ministers at a recent press conference against AT and its leadership, he said, adding that the government was targeting his party for opposing its policies.

Speaking to journalists at the AT hunger striker’s camp, he apprehended that the government itself would get some act of terrorism at the PPP public meeting to justify the crackdown against its opponents. “Come what may, the movement against the new LG law will be continued until it is repealed,” he declared.

Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz-Bashir (JSQM-B) also claimed that an unspecified number of its workers and supporters were rounded up on Sunday. Many prominent district-level activists were not available to give details and there were apprehensions that they might have been taken away by police.

According to police sources, there are intelligence reports that violent attacks might be carried out on the convoys of PPP activists and supporters heading towards Hyderabad from other districts to participate in the public meeting. “We are clearly told by the government to show zero tolerance to such miscreants and deal with them sternly as per law”, said a Karachi-based police official.

NAWABSHAH: Scores of nationalist parties’ activists were rounded up in a crackdown launched here on Sunday.

Police raided various places in Nawabshah city, Sakrand, Qazi Ahmed and other towns of the district to pick up activists of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz, Sindh Taraqqi-pasand Party and other nationalist parties and groups.

Local JSQM leader Sarfaraz Memon told Dawn that strong contingents of police and Rangers personnel raided the residences of its office-bearers, including Asif Magsi and Masood Shah, and took away their party colleagues. He said that 15 workers of JSQM alone were picked up in Sakrand and Qazi Ahmed.

He said JSQM would observe a shutterdown in Sakrand against the illegal raids.

Sources said that the crackdown was launched to ward off the threat of sabotaging Monday’s PPP public meeting in Hyderabad.

SANGHAR: At least 15 political activists were picked up for taking part or intending to participate in a rally against the local government law in this city on Sunday.

The rally was organised jointly by different nationalist parties.

Activists and supporters of JSQM, STP, AT marched on the streets of the city from Allahyar factory to the local press club raising slogans against the government and the LG law.

Later, they staged a sit-in outside the press club for three hours and demanded repeal of the law and immediate release of their party colleagues.

Thos arrested included STP Sanghar chief Jabbar Junejo and JSQM activists Amjad Leghari and Azad Wistro.

JSQM Sanghar president Akbar Marri said that 15 of the party activists who took part in the rally were arrested.

Meanwhile, PML-F MPA Jam Madad Ali has said that those participating in the PPP Hyderabad public gathering would be regarded as ‘traitors of Sindh’.

Speaking at a public meeting in Matal Dharejo village near Jhol on Sunday, he said that PPP was celebrating the passage of the controversial law that was bound to divide Sindh.

“The success of PPP will prove to be short-lived,” he said, adding that its popularity would expose in the general election.

MIRPURKHAS: Police of Sunday carried out raids on many houses in different localities of Mirpurkhas and rounded up a large number of political activists ahead of the PPP public meeting in Hyderabad.

Those rounded up included Manzoor Memon, Mustafa Koori and Shahid Kalhoro of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Budho Keerio and Meehar Bunglani of Sindh Taraqqi-pasand Party and Kirar Labari and Kirshan Kolhi of Awami Tehreek. They were detained at different police stations.

JSQM office-bearers Yousuf Mangrio and others condemned the crackdown and appealed to the people of Sindh not to be frightened by the police action which was aimed at sabotaging the ‘black day’ being observed on Monday against the PPP celebration for Sindh division.

They asked people not to attend the PPP meeting in Hyderabad to show their disapproval of the LG law.