KARACHI: The situation in Lyari remained tense for most of Monday as protestors and police clashed at regular intervals throughout the day.
At least seven people were reported to have been killed and over 20 injured, including five policemen, during the clashes. The killed included Ali, a member of the Peoples Amn Committee, and local Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Hassan Baloch. Baloch was reportedly standing outside his house when he was killed as a result of police firing.
The protests were against yesterday’s killing of an activist of the banned Amn Committee, Saqib Pathan, by officials of the Crime Investigation Department (CID). The protestors have been demanding that action be taken against officials who participated in the “fake” operation.
Peoples Amn Committee leader Zafar Baloch has claimed that over 20 people were injured during the clashes. He said that the injured were shifted to Lyari General Hospital and five of them had passed away.
Sporadic incidents of firing were reported from the Lea Market, Cheel Chowk, Tanga Stand and Baghdadi areas of Lyari. SSP CID Chaudhry Aslam was present in the area.
Three hand grenades were thrown and a rocket was also fired at policemen. The attacks resulted in security personnel opening fire and forcing the protestors to retreat.
Armed men have been firing at the police from on top of buildings and in the streets.
The Inspector General of Police (IG) is expected to arrive in the area soon.
The situation remains tense and residents have been asked not to come out of their homes.
Tension in Landhi and Kharadar
Firing incidents were also reported in the Landhi and Kharadar areas.
In separate incidents, unidentified men in the Lasbela Chowk and Nishter Road areas opened fire and forced shops in the area to shut down.
Tension spread across the areas, stretching from Teen Hatti to Ranchore Line.
Station House Officer Jamshed Quarter Humayun Khan said that the incidents were in continuation with the Lyari turmoil.
The assailants fled the scene after the police arrived, while a heavy contingent of security personnel has been deployed to thwart any potential terror bid.
The Sindh government has ordered an inquiry into the murder of Saqib alias Sakhi Baloch.
Looking at the reaction of the people, the government has ordered deputy commissioner south to look into the matter and report to Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah regarding the murder of the activist and the unrest that broke out in the areas after the incident.
The protestors alleged that the deceased was kidnapped by Senior Superintendent of Police Crime Investigation Departmet (CID) Chaudhray Aslam. However, police said that Sakhi Baloch was a gangster of the area and was a close aide of Uzai Baloch, chief of Peoples Aman Committee and was also wanted by police in many criminal cases.
Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the reporters that the deceased was a criminal, but the government was investigating whether he was killed in encounter or it was an extra judicial murder case.
Zardari convenes meeting
President Asif Ali Zardari directed that indiscriminate legal proceedings should be carried out against criminals responsible for wreaking havoc in Karachi.
He said this while convening a meeting on the worsening law and order situation in Bilawal House, Karachi.
President Zardari directed that the law enforcement agencies should deal with the criminals strictly.
Chief minister Sindh, Sindh Home Minister Mazoor Wasan and officials of the home department, police, rangers and intelligence agencies also attended the meeting.
On the other hand, Sindh Governor Dr Ishtarul Ebad is also likely to meet President Zardari to brief him about Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) complaints and their solutions.
It may be mentioned here that a meeting between MQM leaders and Malik was held in the Governor House late Sunday night in which the interior assured them that their issues will be resolved.