Friday August 19, 2022

Thoroughfares clogged across city as infuriated people take to the streets against power cuts

June 29, 2022

A woman was reportedly killed and around one dozen others injured on Tuesday as police used baton charge to disperse hundreds of angry protesters in Lyari and Macchar Colony who had taken to the streets against prolonged power cuts in their areas.

Meanwhile, protests broke out in various other parts of the city against the prolonged load-shedding, causing severe traffic jams. An unrelated protest of traders in Saddar against ban on plastic bags also added to the traffic problems in the area.

Mauripur Road became a battleground as infuriated people blocked the thoroughfare in protest against continuous power breakdown in the locality. As police took action to disperse them, they refused to budge. Even if they retreated, it was temporary as they returned on the road after a while.

The hide and seek between the protesters and police continued the entire day as the law enforcers tried to resume the movement of traffic on the road. It was the second consecutive day of the protest. After the protesters had dispersed from Mauripur Road on the night between Monday and Tuesday, they again blocked the road in the morning, prompting the police to take action and detained several of them who were shifted to the Kalri police station.

An elderly woman who was allegedly hit with a baton by the police later succumbed to her injuries. She was identified as 60-year-old Mir Bibi, wife of Abdul Karim. After being severely injured due to the baton charge, she was shifted to the Lyari General Hospital where she could not survive.

A police constable, Sher Bahadur, and around one dozen protesters were also injured in the clash. The cop was wounded after being pelted with stones by some of the protesters. As the police resorted to teargas shelling, several people fell unconscious on the road.

The police managed to resume the traffic on Mauripur Road from morning till afternoon several times but the protesters returned several times to block the road again. The Rangers were also called at the site to restore the flow of traffic. There were also reports of the commuters stuck in the traffic jam falling victim to muggers. Even it was also reported that some protesters snatched the keys of the vehicles of several commuters, due to which they were unable to drive once the road was cleared.

The police, however, denied that the woman had died due to their baton charge. They claimed that she died of natural death. Police said there had been no power supply in the affected areas for 12 hours and the protesters demanded an FIR against the K-Electric.

The closure of Mauripur Road had a domino effect and traffic jams were witnessed on several main arteries, including the Northern Bypass, Hub River Road and Sher Shah road. The movement of traffic also remained extremely slow on Mai Kolachi and Maulvi Tameezuddin roads.

Supplies from the Karachi port were also suspended due to the traffic issues. Materials dispatched from other parts of the country for shipment could also not reach the port. A protest against prolonged load-shedding was also held on Abdul Hassan Ispahani Road, stopping the traffic movement. As the protesters pelted the police with stones, they used teargas shells against them but could not force them to disperse. Similar protests were held on Daudpota Road in Saddar, Nazimabad, Golimar Chworangi, PIB Colony, Surjani Town, Landhi, Korangi, Shah Faisal Colony, New Karachi and Surjani Town.