Tension from the day before prevailed not only in Lyari, but also infiltrated its surrounding areas as a day of mourning against the interference by police was announced by the outlawed Peoples Amn Committee (PAC) on Saturday.
Two men, including an alleged gangster, were killed and seven others were wounded during the day. On Friday, activists protesting against the apprehension of three close aides to PAC chief, Uzair Jan Baloch, engaged in a shoot-out with the police which killed at least three bystanders and injured almost one dozen people.
Commercial and routine activities remained suspended in Lyari while public transport was also nil. Matric papers in Lyari were also postponed.
Gunmen approached shopkeepers in areas nearby, including Soldier Bazaar, Garden West, Old Golimar and Gulbahar, and resorted to indiscriminate firing while forcing them to close the commercial activities.
The exchange of fire between the police and the protesters, allegedly associated with the PAC, started in the morning in different localities of Lyari, including Juna Masjid road, Bihar Colony, Khadda Market, Baghdadi, Nayabad, Al-Falah Road, Ali Mohammad Mohalla, Kalakot, and Daryabad.
One of the worst affected areas was Lea Market where protesters burnt tyres on the roads and pelted law enforcers with stones while shouting slogans against them. While the entire locality continued to echo with gunshots, 30-year-old Rustam Ali was killed and 12-year-old Hassan was wounded. According to DSP Qaiser Ali Shah, an alleged PAC activist, 30-year-old Moosa, was gunned down by his own associates in Soldier Bazaar while trying to close the shops in the area. Two passersby, namely Bilal and Jan Mohammad, were reportedly wounded.
Four people, Niaz, Naveed, Ejaz and Urooj, were injured in Gulbahar when unidentified miscreants threw firecrackers at a bus. Police officials alleged that the PAC men planned to set the bus on fire but they threw the cracker when the driver did not stop the bus.
The unending loop
Similar target operations by the police are expected in Lyari as according to officials, the police are gathering details about the gangsters and their networks. The SSP South, Nasir Aftab, said that they were currently trying to control the situation but as soon as it settles down, they will launch operations against PAC and other gangs. “This alarming law and order situation is definitely being created to stop the targeted operations,” said Aftab. “Once things calm down, we will resume our operation.”
Meanwhile, PAC has also warned the authorities that they would react in the same manner if the police start their “so-called targeted operations”, while accusing them of arresting innocent people. The PAC chief, Uzair Jan Baloch, said that he will welcome an operation against criminals by the police but would react strongly if they continue to apprehend innocent people.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2012.