Crackdown on Faizabad protest sparks unrest in Karachi



KARACHI: At least 30 people were reported injured in different incidents across Karachi on Saturday after protests sprung up in response to the government’s operation against protesters gathered in Islamabad.

Hospital sources confirmed that 27 of the 30 people injured in different incident across the city were admitted to Jinnah Hospital, while three were admitted to the Civil Hospital.

Moreover, two reporters of a private news channel were injured while covering violent protests in different areas of the metropolis.

According to sources, a reporter, Tariq Abul Hassan was injured while covering protest in Sohrab Goth area while Talha Hashmi received injuries during protest coverage at Nursary area.

They were shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and Civil Hospital Karachi for treatment.

Protesters gathered at the Numaish Chowrangi since morning to shut down the access roads and forcefully close all the shops in the area. By afternoon much of the city had come to a standstill owing to protests on the city’s main artery Shahrah-e-Faisal near Star Gate, where police resorted to firing teargas shells.

Protests were also reported at Jillani Centre near Tower, on Hasan Square, Shaheed-e-Millat Expressway. The sources added that protestors at Al Asif Square also severed the main road link between Karachi and Hyderabad.

Speaking to journalists, Malir SSP Rao Anwar said that he had summoned Rangers for assistance and had instructed all the SHOs to seal the lanes from Shah Faisal Colony leading to Shahrah-e-Faisal. He also confirmed that Memon Goth SHO and a constable were injured due to firing.

By early evening, reports of protesters staging a demonstration and blocking a road in Karachi’s Landhi Number 6 vicinity were received. Traffic from the Landhi Police Station was diverted to Mill Area, the police said.

It was earlier reported that 28 people were injured during clashes in Karachi, out of which 7 are said to be critical.

In a statement issued late Saturday afternoon, Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) DG Major General Muhammad Saeed said that the paramilitary force had been deployed in the metropolitan to ensure peace. He also said that no one will be allowed to harm public property.

Religious activists held protest demonstrations in other parts of Sindh as well.

T protesters blocked roads and got shops closed in various areas of Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Tando Allahyar and Jacobabad. In Karachi, protesters, who have been staging a sit-in at the Numaish Chowrangi since last week, blocked roads leading to Saddar and other areas of the city.

Cars lined up in long queues at Hassan Square as traffic jams ensued due to the protest.

Religious parties protested near Tower, Hassan Square, Star Gate, Jauhar Chaurangi, MA Jinnah Road, Khudadad Colony, New Karachi and Nazimabad.

Karachi police opened aerial firing, teargas shelling and baton as religious protesters took to the streets in different parts of the metropolis.

During the scuffle near Star Gate, Memon Goth SHO Gulzar received bullet injuries while 14 other people, Muhammad Kamran, Shahbaz, Abdul Wakeel, Waqas, Rashid, Noman, Sultan, Fahad, Qabil, Zohaib, Abdullah, Qasim, Badar, Faizan, and Nadeem  sustained injuries during clash between religious activists and LEAs.

Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah took notice of sit-ins and protests in various areas of Karachi and directed Sindh Inspector General of Police AD Khowaja and Karachi Commissioner Aijaz Ahmed Khan to deploy police and law enforcement agencies and disperse the protesters.

He also directed DIG (traffic) to ensure smooth traffic flow in the city.

Police was called for backup as protesters turned violent at Star Gate and pelted stones on vehicles of security forces and others. Police also tear-gassed protesters at Star Gate.

An emergency had been declared across public hospitals in Karachi. II Chundrigar Road and MA Jinnah Road have been closed for traffic. Armed persons force the closure of shops at Numaish Chowrangi.

The protesters also came on roads in Tower, Hassan Square, Gruminder, Korangi, North Nazimabad and Sohrab Goth areas, and also blocked the main road link between Karachi and Hyderabad.

In Mirpurkhas, TLYR and other religious parties held protest demonstrations.

The protesters first gathered at Market Chowk and held a protest demonstration. Later, they reached the local press club where they staged a sit-in and blocked roads leading to different areas of the city. The protesters, led by Sharif Saeedi and Mushtaq Naqshbandi, chanted slogans against the government for launching a crackdown against religious activists in Islamabad.

They vowed to widen the scope of the protest.