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Thursday April 18, 2024

Fresh MQM-PPP clash injures three people in Karachi

In a joint raid by police and rangers, 34 people are arrested, says SSP

By Kashif Mushtaq & Shawwala Aslam & Syed Daniyal Hussain
February 03, 2024
Workers prepare flags of different political parties ahead of general elections in Karachi on January 12, 2024. — Online
Workers prepare flags of different political parties ahead of general elections in Karachi on January 12, 2024. — Online

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) workers Friday night indulged in another violent clash that left three persons including two young boys wounded in the Sector 11-J area of New Karachi.

This is the second such episode between the two of the metropolis' largest political parties within a week, just a few days ahead of the general elections.

The critically wounded child, who received a bullet injury to his head, was identified as 12-year-old Abdul Rehman. Police said the boy was admitted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre's ICU ward and he was put on ventilator support.

Whereas, Ashraf, 40, was beaten with a stick and Shumail, 16, received a bullet injury to his leg. Both of them were under treatment and were out of danger, said police.

A huge contingent of police including the senior superintendent reached the site of the incident and initiated an investigation into the incident which took place in New Karachi's Sector 11-J near the PPP election office.

Police said the tearing of a political party’s poster sparked the encounter. The law enforcers initially took one person into their custody for his embroilment in the incident.

Later, in a joint raid by police and rangers, 34 people were arrested, said the senior superintendent of police (SSP) adding that the family of the child admitted to the ICU did not belong to any political party.

A cousin of the critically injured kid, Muhammad Saleem, told Geo News that they had a clash with workers of a political party last day. The workers started beating them with batons and opened firing, and in the meanwhile, a bullet hit his cousin’s head, he added.

Saleem said he was associated with the PPP and the other kid wounded in the incident was also his relative.

The hospital administration said the child was under treatment at the JPMC’s neuro ward. His health condition was critical, said the administration.

Furthermore, a first information report (FIR) has been lodged in the New Karachi police station by PPP worker Yousaf. At least 15 unidentified persons including three MQM-P workers have been nominated in the FIR, lodged under charges of terrorism and attempted murder.

'PPP armed wing attacked area': MQM-P leader

Addressing a press conference, MQM-P leader Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hasan said that first the PPP workers tried to take down their party flags and started beating MQM-P workers.

When the MQM-P workers went to the police station to register a complaint, police received information about firing in the area after which they rushed out putting the complaint aside.

Izhar-ul-Hasan said the PPP armed wing attacked the area, but police arrested his party worker Shahid on the advice of the PPP.

“Should we not file a complaint with police next time? Police have become servants of a party. Will the DIG and SSP respond to this? While we are adopting the policy of non-violence and non-confrontation, the armed groups are once again targeting us,” he said.

The MQM-P leader requested the caretaker chief minister, police and IG to provide justice to them. He could not see any role of the caretaker government in sorting out the issues, he said.

Saeed Ghani appeals to stop violent incidents

Meanwhile, PPP leader Saeed Ghani said NA-247 candidate Sheikh Muaaz Feroze was holding a corner meeting, the organisers told him to leave.

Feroze had left the meeting and soon after he received information that firing had taken place at the corner meeting place, he said.

Saeed said the deceased child Rehman came to the corner meeting with his family.

“This is a continuation of the events that were happening in the Central District for the last few days. An incident of firing also took place in Nazimabad, wherein a PPP worker got injured and an MQM worker killed,” he said.

He appealed to the prime minister and law enforcement agencies to stop the violent incidents creating hurdles in their election activities.

The PPP leader said neither a case was registered nor an inquiry was conducted in the Nazimabad incident. If the police had taken notice of these incidents and taken action, there would not have been any more incidents, he said.

“There are reports that our workers are being subjected to violence. The FIR of the injured PPP workers in the Nazimabad incident was not registered. MQM workers are involved in the attacks on PPP offices and violence against the political workers,” he said.

One killed, another injured

On January 29, at least one person was killed and another injured in clashes between the workers of the PPP and MQM-P in Karachi’s Nazimabad area, MQM-P had claimed.

The incident had taken place in the Nazimabad No 2 area late Sunday as political parties were busy canvassing, holding public gatherings and corner meetings to mobilise their supporters ahead of the February 8 elections, according to police.

Police had said clashes erupted between the workers of the two political parties and unidentified persons also lit two vehicles during the violence. They had said the deceased person was identified as 48-year-old Faraz.

Saeed fears of riots on Feb 8

PPP’s Saeed Ghani, later addressing a presser, said his party candidate Rao Waheed informed police about the incident, adding that if the police had taken action timely no life would have been lost.

The PPP leader claimed the police’s role was suspicious in the entire episode as MQM’s case was lodged but theirs was not.

He said earlier small skirmishes also took place but no action was taken.

“Elections are just few days away. Action should be taken, or else riots will multiply on February 8,” he said.

MQM-P seeks answers from Karachi police chief

Addressing a press conference, MQM-P leader Faisal Subzwari slammed the assailants saying that they attacked unarmed persons who came to attend the MQM-P meeting with their families. He said police did not arrest PPP leader Masroor Ahsan as he was a candidate, adding that Ahsan threatened MQM-P workers of consequences after the elections.

Subzwari said the Karachi police chief should answer in whose account the dead bodies would be put.