Tension persisted in the Sohrab Goth area on Friday, the second consecutive day of violence that had erupted a day earlier amid protests over the killing of a youth at a hotel in Hyderabad earlier this week.
In Sohrab Goth, enraged people gathered on the Super Highway near Al-Asif Square and staged a protest, bringing traffic to a halt.
Miscreants also set a scrapped vehicle on fire, causing fear and panic in the locality. However, police used tear gas shells, resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protesters and succeeded in resuming traffic on M-9.
Police said miscreants among the protesters also deprived commuters stuck in the traffic jam from Al-Asif Square to the Toll Plaza of their valuables, and efforts were underway to arrest those miscreants.
On Thursday, two people were killed and 14 were injured during violence on the Super Highway. The injured included four passers-by, who suffered bullet wounds during firing by miscreants. Ten people were injured when they were hit with rods and sticks.
The protestors had also attacked police pickets at Al Asif Square and set a vehicle on fire. Two motorcycles and a bus were also set ablaze. A heavy contingent of Rangers and police had reached the spot to control the situation.
As part of a crackdown that started on Thursday and continued on Friday, Sindh IGP Ghulam Nabi Memon put the provincial police on high alert until the next orders and ordered them to ensure protection for the life and property of the citizens.
He issued this order while reviewing a report about the FIRs registered and the arrests made over violence following the Hyderabad incident. According to a Sindh police spokesperson, the IGP has formed a police investigation team to probe the Hyderabad incident, and appealed to the citizens to ignore rumors.
The AIG Operations in his report stated that 15 incidents of violence had been reported from across the province following the Hyderabad incident. The police report further stated that 12 cases had been registered and 90 arrests made across the province.
The cases in Karachi were registered in at Sohrab Goth, Mobina Town and Sachal police stations. The police have included Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act in the FIR registered at the Sohrab Goth police station.
The FIR said the protesters also snatched official weapons and hundreds of ammunitions from security personnel and used them for perpetrating violence.
The complaint said police resorted to firing tear gas shells to disperse the protesters, and around one to two thousand people were involved in the riots. Four people were injured and two others killed in the incident.
According to Sohrab Goth DSP Chaudhry Sohail Faiz, the situation is under control, cases have been registered and police have arrested several miscreants.
Sharjeel warns hate-mongers
Sindh Information and Transport Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon warned that anyone who misused social media platforms for spreading hatred or endangering the lives and belongings of the people through false posts would be arrested.
He was speaking at a press conference to inform journalists about the efforts launched by the provincial government to contain the law and order situation following clashes and tensions broke out on ethnic lines in different parts of Sindh, including Karachi.
Memon told media persons that the provincial government had asked the interior ministry to direct the Federal Investigation Agency to initiate action against people who had used social media for spreading hatred. “Anyone using social media from anywhere in Pakistan to spread hatred will be arrested,” he warned.
The information minister said two persons nominated for the murder of Bilal Kaka in Hyderabad had been arrested while four others had been at large.
He claimed that the first arrest had been made within 30 minutes after Kaka’s murder while the second person was arrested 12 hours after the incident. He said 28 persons had been arrested after the miscreants had forcibly closed businesses and shops in different parts of Sindh in the aftermath of the killing.
Memon said the law-enforcement agencies had nabbed 48 persons following the troubled law and order situation in Sohrab Goth of the city in the previous day. He said a mob had assembled in Sohrab Goth on Thursday and the situation would have gone out of control had the law-enforcement agencies not resorted to swift action against the protesters. He said the Sindh Rangers and police knew well what strategy had to be adopted for dealing with the miscreants in such a volatile situation.
The information minister maintained that the tragic incident in Hyderabad had nothing to do with the issue of ethnicity. He said Sindh was like a bouquet as people of every community were present in it like flowers.
He added that only a few miscreants in the province wanted to disturb the law and order situation in the province. “My message for them is that we will tackle them at every cost as everyone is equal before the law.”
Memon said concerned political parties in the province whose leadership had been contacted by the provincial government after Hyderabad incident wanted peace. He expressed gratitude to the media and all the political parties for adopting a serious approach to handling the troubled security situation in the aftermath of Kaka’s murder.
He told media persons that the chief minister had also taken cognisance of the Hyderabad incident and made it clear that nobody in the province was above the law. He cautioned the people to remain alert about a handful of miscreants who wanted to disturb peace in the province.
Memon said that following the incident in Hyderabad misleading messages had been disseminated from social media accounts of such people who had passed away about two years ago. He also accused the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf of fanning hatred on ethnic lines following the Hyderabad incident.
He appealed to the masses not to lend support to such people who wanted to promote an ethnic divide in the province, as it was the land of peace-loving people. He alleged that photographs taken by the Special Branch of the police had showed that the brother of one of the persons who were leading the protest sit-in in Sohrab Goth was contesting the local government poll on the ticket of the PTI.
Memon also expressed gratitude to the bereaved family of Bilal Kaka, including his mother, who had recorded messages containing an appeal to the people to maintain peace. He alleged that the PTI was at the forefront of the attempt to promote ethnic strife in Sindh following the incident in Hyderabad.
To a question, the information minister opined that a ban should have been imposed on the PTI if Pakistan wanted to fully follow the path of the constitution and law. He alleged that the PTI in the past had received funding from Israel and India. He said a ban should be imposed on Imran Khan as a politician after the recent judgment of the Supreme Court.
Also speaking on the occasion, Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that a clash of a personal nature in Hyderabad had been unduly given an ethnic colour. He said that people having vested interests had been making such a vicious attempt. He said the land of Sindh belonged to peace-loving people who were the followers of Shah Abdul Lateef Bhittai and Sachal Sarmast.
DIG Hyderabad Peer Muhammad Shah, while talking to The News, said that on Friday the Bhittai Nangar Police arrested Muhammad Afzal Pathan in Hyderabad.
He said police presented main accused Shah Sawar Pathan after two days of his physical remand before the court of the fourth civil and judicial magistrate for an extension of his remand. The judge gave the police given seven more days to question the accused.
The DIG said the situation in Hyderabad was under control and peaceful and he met the Bilala Kaka’s family and assured them of the arrest of the nominated accused. He said no linguistic conflict was likely in Hyderabad.
He advised the protesters to refrain from violent protests. He said that there was a no any tension and the police had provided security and protection to the Pashtuns to run their businesses.
Also on Friday, protests and rallies continued in most cities of Sindh, including Hyderabad, Larkana, Jacobabad, Umarkot, Qazi Ahmed and Meero Khan, against the Killing of Bilal Kaka.
The protesters demanded the arrest of the all accused involved in the murder of Kaka as well as sending back to their home Afghan nationals illegally living in Sindh. In Larkana, a clash was reported between police and protesters and police took some protesters into custody.
Jalal Mahamood Shah, the chief of the Sindh United Party, said that nationalist leaders were not against the business of the Pashtuns and it was a duty of the Sindh government to launch an operation against the Afighan Pathans who illegally entered Sindh and were living in most parts of the province.
He said the Pathans were brothers of the Sindhis and appealed to the people of Sindh and the Pathans to remain peaceful to foil hatched conspiracies to flare up linguistic conflicts in the province.
Ayaz Latif Palejo also condemned the act of some miscreants of flaring up linguistic conflicts. He said that Sindh is a soil of Sufis, had embraced the migrants and provided them an opportunity of business.
Dr Qadir Magsi, chairman of the STPP, condemned the murder of Bilal Kaka and said his party activists were not involved in any violence to damage the properties of Pathans. He said he was against linguistic violence and appealed to the Pathans and the people of Sindh to restore peace. He demanded the arrest of the accused nominated in the murder case of Kaka.
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