MQM-backed strike brings city to standstill

MQM-backed strike brings city to standstill

KARACHI: The Shia Ulema Council Pakistan on Monday observed strike in the city alongside different Shia organisations staging sit-ins in different neighborhoods of the city.

The protest had made daily life difficult for the commoners who were seen running from pillar to post in search of the daily-use essential items which were unavailable as markets were closed down and transporters’ were absent on the roads. The Council had announced a strike and sit-in protest in Karachi on Monday and had urged thousands of people belonging to different Shia organizations to stage sit-in protests in different areas of Karachi over the killings of 102 Hazara shias in Quetta. Protesters were demanding the deployment of Pakistan Army in Quetta and immediate arrest of terrorists who were involved in the Quetta incident.

The protesters staged sit-in protests at Ancholi, Rizvia Society, Five Star Chorangi, Nomaish Chorangi, Malir Jafar-e-Teyar Society and in front of Bilawal House.Sindh interior ministry had announced a ban on pillion riding late on Sunday night, while all mobile networks were shut down from late Sunday night till Monday evening due to security concerns. The strike generally remained peaceful however reports of aerial firing and burning of vehicles were received from a few areas. Police officials said some unidentified persons received burned injuries when a mini bus was put on fire on Jail Road near New Town area, adding that no other violent incident had otherwise been reported during the day.

All markets and transportation facilities had remained closed for the last two days and citizens had suffered greatly to obtain the basic items during the last 36 hours. A visit to different areas showed that all main markets and commercial centres including Saddar, Bohri Bazaar, Electronics Market, Zaibunnisa Street, Regal Chowk, Zainab Market, Tariq Road, Hyderi, and KDA Market (Gulshan-i-Iqbal ) remained closed. The situation was no different in Liaquatabad, North Nazimabad , Federal B Area, New Karachi, Landhi, Malir, Shah Faisal Colony, and Gulistan-e-Jauhar where most of the bazaars, markets and shops remained closed. Furthermore, Private Schools Association had announced to close all private schools in Karachi on Monday. Similarly, the Karachi University and Federal Urdu University had also announced to cancel all exams which were scheduled to be held on Monday.

Later, the Shia Ulema Council had announced to end the strike and sit-in protests in Karachi after the government had provided assurance to take action against terrorists involved in the killing of innocent Hazara shias in Quetta on Monday evening. In addition, all sit-in protests were ended in different areas of the city and protesters were seen heading back home. Transportation services and markets gradually started opening after protests ended. Various entry points to the city remained blocked till the filing of this report by the city administration, despite the fact that the Shiite organisations had called off their sit-in earlier.

Meanwhile, a strike call was also given by Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM), a conglomerate of various Shiite organisations, against killing of Hazara shias in the Quetta bomb blast.Although, the federal government had bowed to the protestors’ demands regarding imposition of governor rule in Balochistan, however, the MWM refused to withdraw their strike call. Various political and religious parties including the MQM and the Awami National Party (ANP) had also supported the strike call.Moreover, strike was also observed in other parts of Sindh as well. Several protest demonstrations were held in Hyderabad, Sukkur, Nawabshah, Larkana, Shikarpur, Khairpur, Thatta, Sanghar, Jaccobabad, and other areas. Addressing the demonstrations, the MWM leaders warned that their party’s policy of peace should not be considered its weakness. – PT