KARACHI: Five people were injured and five motorcycles were reportedly set on fire in a rally which was organised by the Pasban group on Sunday in protest against the ban on pillion riding.
The rally started at Baloch Colony at 3:30 pm and was meant to reach the Karachi Press Club, despite interception at various places by police officials who attempted to stop the rally from proceeding by arresting Pasban supporters.
Some Pasban supporters on motorcycles were violating the ban on pillion riding, which is why they were stopped by the police, a police official revealed.
“The police had warned the protesters that action will be taken against them for violating Section 144, imposed by government to ban pillion riding. We have not arrested any member of the Pasban organisation. However arrests have been reported within the jurisdiction of the Korangi police station,” said SSP Amir Farooqi, who added that the protesters who were not accused of violating the ban were allowed to proceed towards the press club.
When the rally reached Qayyumabad, however, a motorcycle collided with a minibus, thereby initiating a fight as a number of protesters attacked the minibus driver, forcing him to abandon his vehicle and escape. However, he later returned with some friends and attacked the protesters in retaliation, said Korangi Industrial Area SHO Asif Jakharani.
Mushtaq, Zainulabidin, Noor, Ahmed and Ayub were injured in the fight and had to be taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. The police arrived at the scene of the crime and arrested a number of people for attacking each other with sticks and guns.
“Several Pasban workers were attacked and arrested by the police at a number of areas across the city. Some were also tortured and are now in critical condition. One of our workers, Ayub, had to be taken to the hospital,” claimed Pasban spokesperson Shafiq Rajput, who added that the Pasban supporters had managed to reach the press club at 4:30 pm to register their protest against the ban on pillion riding despite interference by the police.
The rally was led by Pasban Karachi president Syed Ashraf Hussain along with Hakim Quaid and Naeem Sheikh. Meanwhile, cases against the arrests of the Pasban supporters or the people responsible for setting motorcycles on fire have yet to be registered with the police.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2010.