President Asif Ali Zardari has said that Lyari was a stronghold of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and will always be.
Speaking to a delegation of the Katchi Rabita Committee at the Bilawal House on Sunday, Zardari expressed grief over the armed clashes in Lyari.
According to the committee’s general-secretary Haji Ibrahim, the president took serious notice of the situation and directed the inspector-general of Sindh Police to go into the area and have occupied areas cleared from the armed militants of the Peoples Amn Committee. He said that the president has formed a three-member committee to look into the grievances of the Katchi community.
Ibrahim said that Sindh Senior Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza and MNA Qadir Patel had told the president that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was making electoral inroads into Lyari and the Katchi community was inclining towards the MQM, a prospect that worried him.
“On hearing this, the president said that the Katchi community is deeply-rooted in the PPP and members will not diverge from the PPP,” Ibrahim said.
Meanwhile, a second meeting was held at the Bilawal House between the president and Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan, where Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah was also present along with Sindh Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani.
According to sources, the president had summoned the home minister for a briefing on the situation in Karachi, particularly in Lyari where armed men fired upon and wounded several Katchi people on Saturday, including 2 women. The incident had provoked hostility among the Katchi community against the dominant Baloch community, among the PPP’s staunchest supporters.
Wassan told reporters that in the meeting, he had briefed the president on the law and order situation in the city, particularly on the violence and armed clashes in Lyari.
“The president issued stern direction that law and order must be maintained at all costs and that more police contingents should be deployed in the area,” he said.
He said that the president made it clear that maintaining law and order was the sole responsibility of the government.
Meanwhile, according to sources, the president said that the government will compensate those killed in Lyari with both cash and plots of land. Sources claimed that the president has also directed that a police station be established at Khadda Market in Lyari.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2011.
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