KARACHI: Following the example of gangsters and criminals, elected representatives also seem to have started collecting extortion in Lea Market and Kalakot areas of Karachi. Transporters and bus owners staged on Sunday a sit-in in Lea Market to protest against the extortion local representatives have been allegedly collecting from them.
The sit-in caused a severe traffic jam in the area. “We are tired of paying extortion to criminals. Now, the councillors of the area have started demanding money,” said Sindh Balochistan Hub Coach Owners Association President Humayun Khan, adding that they would not ply their vehicles until the government takes action against the elected representatives.
“We run approximately 130 coaches from Hub to Karachi, but two councillors of the area, Mushtaq and Mairaj, have made our lives miserable. Every month, they demand Rs200 per coach. If any driver refuses, they beat him black and blue and do not allow the vehicle on roads,” Khan alleged. He added that the situation has been continuing for months but the authorities are not interested in resolving their issues. “We lodged complaints at the Kalakot police station but nothing has been done,” he lamented.
The transporters blocked Lea Market Chowk, causing a severe traffic jam in the area. They claimed that the two councilors involved in extorting money from them belonged to the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N). “We have also informed the union council chairmen and PML-N leadership about the issue, but no one takes it seriously,” Nazar Muhammad, one of the coach owners, said. “These elected representatives are supposed to resolve people’s civic problems, but unfortunately they run gambling dens and supervise the gangs in the areas,” he alleged.
Another coach owner appealed to the Rangers director-general (DG), who had visited Lyari on Saturday, to intervene and resolve the issue. “The Rangers DG claimed to have contained the law and order in Karachi, especially in Lyari area. We request him to take action against extortionists in the area,” he said.
Mohammad Hussain, a driver who has been operating a coach for the last 10 years, said the police are aware of the illicit activities of the councillors and are working hand in glove with them.
Talking to The Express Tribune, the union council (UC) 11 Kalakot chairman, Firdous Aijaz, confirmed that both the councillors belong to his party and that he has also lodged complaints against their suspected criminal activities. “I will also ask the police to take action and request the party to expel the black sheep,” he claimed.
However, the local SP, Aftab Nizamani, said he was unaware of any complaint registered by the transporters. “After the Karachi operation, the police and law enforcers have cleansed the area of gangsters and criminals. I am further asking the concerned SHO to look into the matter,” he said.
When contacted, Mushtaq, one of the accused councillors, refuted the allegations. “I have never asked any transporter for money. It is a false propaganda against me,” he declared. The other councillor, Mairaj, was not available for comments.