Police, PTI workers clash for hours ahead of Numaish sit-in

May 26, 2022

Karachi police officials failed to stop Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s workers and supporters from gathering at Numaish at the end of a clash between law enforcers and enraged protesters that...

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Karachi police officials failed to stop Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) workers and supporters from gathering at Numaish at the end of a clash between law enforcers and enraged protesters that lasted for around four hours.

“A PTI convoy has reached Numaish, and seating arrangements are being made,” PTI leader Saddam Kumbhar told The News. “A screen is also being put up at Numaish for a live streaming of the Islamabad long march.”

Earlier in the day, the atmosphere in the Numaish area remained tense, as police and protesters played hide-and-seek for hours, with the police resorting to tear-gas shelling and PTI workers hurling stones.

Tension gripped different parts of the city, particularly Numaish, as a clash broke out between police and PTI workers after the law enforcers tried to block the protesters from holding a demonstration at Numaish.

The PTI’s leadership in Karachi had decided to hold a sit-in at Numaish in connection with the party’s long march heading towards the federal capital.

Strict security measures had already been made by the Karachi police to stop PTI workers from reaching and gathering at Numaish by putting up barricades, while the traffic police had announced alternative routes for commuters. According to the traffic police, MA Jinnah Road and its adjoining areas were blocked.

“The date of the sit-in at Numaish had been announced a couple of days ago, and a heavy contingent of police was already present there when we started gathering at around 3pm,” said Kumbhar. “Police started torturing peaceful protesters with tear gas and batons.”

He said PTI workers had to step back when police used force to stop them from gathering at Numaish. The protesters then started gathering at the Noorani Kabab House on Tariq Road, from where they started marching towards Numaish again in the evening.

During hide-and-seek, both police and protesters continued to attack each other, with PTI workers pelting the law enforcers with stones, which were countered with tear gas and batons.

Kumbhar claimed that a dozen and a half of their workers, including PTI Member Provincial Assembly Dua Bhutto, had been taken into custody, while at least three had also suffered injuries.

Police sources said that a total of five people had been injured in the clash, including two who had suffered bullet wounds. Moreover, violent protesters pelting police with stones also injured Gulshan Division SP Abdul Khaliq and Brigade SHO Khalid Rafiq, who were taken to the hospital.

Besides injuring police officers, the violent protesters also set a police prisoner van on fire as well as damaged two police mobile vans. Police also resorted to aerial firing, following which the protesters dispersed.

Geo News cameraman Nasir Ali as well as photographer Asif Hasan of an international news agency were also injured during the riots that took place on Tariq Road.

PTI’s petition

The Sindh High Court issued notices to the provincial police chief, law officers, home department and others on a petition filed by a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPA against the imposition of Section 144 of PPC in the province and unlawful arrests.

Petitioner Saeed Ahmed Afridi, an MPA from Karachi’s District West and PTI former Karachi general secretary, submitted that police and other law enforcement agencies were bent upon arresting his party’s lawmakers after the announcement of a long march on Islamabad by the PTI chairman.

He said the provincial government was continuously infringed the fundamental rights of the petitioner and activists of the PTI by illegally raiding their houses in violation of the law and the constitution. He submitted that the Sindh government had also imposed Section 144 of the PPC to curb the democratic rights of the petitioner party for staging rallies and protest demonstrations against the government.

The court was requested to provide protection to the petitioner as there were apprehensions that police might implicate him in false cases and restrain the police from arresting PTI lawmakers and activists without any warrant or FIR. He also sought suspension of the operation of Section of the 144 PPC in the province, arguing tht it was aimed at curbing the political movement of the petitioner’s party against the regime.

A division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro, after the preliminary hearing of the petition, issued notices to the home secretary, the IGP, the prosecutor general and others and called their comments on June 2.

Sharjeel takes notice

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon took notice of violence against media persons by PTI workers at Numaish Chowrangi.

In a statement, the provincial minister strongly condemned the bullying of the PTI. He remarked that these were not political and democratic people, as they resorted to violence and bullying to dictate independent media.

Memon said PTI was instigating its workers to resort to violence against media, which were not taking their party line. Strict action would be taken against those involved in violence against media persons, he warned.

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