Mirza’s 24 guards held outside SHC, journos manhandled

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  • Interior minister says violence on those reporting an event intolerable, orders security for media workers and Fehmida Mirza

 

Accompanied by his wife Fehmida Mirza, as former Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Zulfiqar Mirza arrived at the Sindh High Court (SHC) to appear before the registrar and to have his bail extended in a case for harassing policemen, black-masked commandos and heavy contingents of police led by acting SSP South Chaudhry Asad came into action, blocked roads outside the court and detained around 24 of Mirza’s guards, besides harassing journalists.

Images on television showed masked personnel of the Special Security Unit assaulting people and breaking windows of cars which were a part of Mirza’s covoy. Mirza and his wife had to confine themselves in the Registrar’s Office of the high court.

The police and security forces surrounded the court premises while heavy contingent of police and other law enforcers were also present outside anti-terrorism court (ATC) and Sindh Assembly.

According to DIG South Dr Jamil Ahmed, only six security guards of Mirza were detained outside the court.

Lashing out, former National Assembly speaker Fehmida Mirza Saturday blamed the Sindh government for the attack by “unidentified masked men” on her guards and vehicles.

Speaking to a private TV channel, she said that the attack was a clear violation of court’s orders. “Gullu Butts of Sindh have swung into action and arrested our guards and smashed our vehicles. They are not causing any harm to Mirza family, they are hurting Pakistan and its democracy,” she said, maintaining that this was happening at the behest of Sindh government.

Previously, an ATC in Karachi had rejected Mirza’s application, seeking exemption from hearing, and directed him to appear before it on Saturday.

Per media reports, the provincial government had decided to detain the former minister on Saturday before he appeared in court and gets extension in bail.

Mirza was not arrested but the police manhandled journalists outside SHC where they were present in a large number to cover Mirza’s entry in court.

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUF) President Rana Azeem said that former president Asif Ali Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur and Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon unleashed the police commandos on media personnel.

Following the incident, Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan took notice of police excesses against media workers gathered outside the SHC.

In a statement issued on Saturday evening, the interior minister said that violence on those reporting an event is not tolerable. He directed inspector general police and Sindh Rangers director general to ensure protection of media workers as well as for Zulfiqar Mirza’s wife Fehmida Mirza.

Nisar stressed that political matters must be resolved politically.

Earlier on Friday, a heavy contingent of police also raided one of the residences of former minister Zulfiqar Mirza in the upscale Defence neighbourhood of Karachi and detained three of his men.

The South Zone police picked up Mirza’s driver Naik Muhammad, servant Ibrahim and security guard Sikandar Brohi. Police claimed that they had also recovered three sub-machine guns from the men.

Mirza, disowned by senior PPP leaders, and some of his associates, is facing multiple court cases in Badin and Karachi for rioting, attempted murder, attacking a police station and forced closure of shops in a Badin market.