KARACHI: MQM-P's parliamentarian leader Khalid Maqbool on Wednesday announced that the party will observe a "Black Day" tomorrow (January 27) as several members of the party, including women, were left injured after Karachi police baton-charged and tear-gassed them during a protest at the city's Shahrah-e-Faisal.
MQM-P workers and leaders gathered in large numbers during the afternoon hours to stage a protest against the controversial local government bill.
Later on, the protesters attempted to reach the Chief Minister's House for a sit-in. As a result, the flow of traffic was severely affected on the road considered to be the city's main artery.
The police, however, baton-charged the crowd and used teargas shells in an attempt to dissuade it from entering the red zone.
MQM-P representatives said several women and children participating in the protests sustained injuries, while the police arrested several MQM-P leaders and activists.
Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) Sadaqat Hussain was also injured because of the baton charge. Contingents of south police were deployed at the site of the protest to disperse the demonstrators.
“The way the police treated our women party workers is a question of our honour,” he said while asking "who is responsible for the injuries sustained by MPA Sadaqat Hussain?"
He warned the provincial government that if MQM-P does not get updates on party workers who have been taken into custody then the party will be “free to take any decision.”
According to the traffic police, the Shahrah-e-Faisal road started to become choked as protesters continued to advance forwards, therefore, they said they had "no choice but to use force and fire teargas shells."
The protesters, however, insisted that they were "staging their protest peacefully, but the police went ahead and used force to disperse them," the report said.
The police cleared the area and roads, resuming traffic for public, while five people were arrested so far from the area near CM House, the report added.
MQM-P leaders and workers later left for the press club where the top leadership held a press conference in order to decide on an action plan.
Urging Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit Karachi as soon as possible, Maqbool said that the premier needs to choose between the people who want to break Pakistan or those who are "working for the survival of the country."
MQM-P leader further demanded an inquiry against Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, saying that he should resign or else the party will take strict actions against the provincial government.
“We don’t want to fight; however, we do know how to fight,” he reiterated.
MQM-P, PTI want to divert public's attention from real issues: Ghani
Meanwhile, Sindh Minister for Information Saeed Ghani, while speaking to Geo News, said that MQM-P decided to change the location of the protest, as they had earlier announced the demonstration outside the press club but they started marching towards the CM House.
“We are not against protests, even Jamat-e-Islami has been protesting in front of the Sindh Assembly for almost a month now,” he said, adding that the MQM-P should have been careful as several foreign players are staying in hotels near the CM House because of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) which is scheduled to commence tomorrow.
Ghani further added that because of PSL, security is already on high alert the protestors were warned not to move towards the CM House; however, they defied all requests and the police had to take action.
Blaming the MQM-P, the minister said that if the party workers and leaders had protested outside the press club the situation would have been different.
Criticising the party, he further added that MQM-P, along with the PTI, wants to divert the public’s attention from the actual issues.
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