Lyari violence : Nine grenades and counting, but no cases registered

The violence seems to be escalating but the police say they are helpless.


Express August 10, 2011

KARACHI:


Police appear to be reluctant to register cases against the former workers of the defunct Peoples Amn Committee (PAC) accused of firing, hurling hand grenades and spreading violence in Lyari and the Old City areas.


Meanwhile, it is rumoured that the violence would escalate if action is not taken soon.

Parts of Lyari, the Old City and surrounding areas such as Napier, Kharadar, Garden and Pak Colony were tense on Wednesday following a possible clash between rival groups.

At least eight hand grenades were used in attacks in different parts of the south district in retaliation to an attack on a former PAC leader, Zafar Baloch, who was recently appointed as a Pakistan Peoples Party’s district south leader.

Men on motorcycles shot at Baloch and threw a grenade at him near Gul Mohammad Lane, Chakiwara, Lyari. Soon after, dozens of armed men moved towards Salar Compound and Bhimpura and pelted them with grenades and bullets from rooftop pickets.

Grenades also went off at Burns Road.

The police, however, remained complacent. “What has happened? Nothing is wrong, sub set hai [everything is fine],” claimed a relaxed SHO Shaukat Raza. “These things are happening all over the city but where is the evidence? It’s all talk. What are we meant to register anyway? If someone shows up to file a case then we shall see.”

The people, however, said that the police was not allowed to take action against the gangsters as they are with PAC. “There is no doubt that the Ghaffar Zikri group attacked first,” said a resident who was too scared to be named. “In exchange for a single grenade attack these people [the PAC] have ruined peace all over the city.

The police are forcing shops to close themselves, where is the justice in that.”

Residents say that gangsters attacked the Salar Compound and Bhimpura areas as they believed that Zikri group members who attacked Baloch escaped and hid there.

They worry that things will get worse if the police do not act soon.

Rauf Baloch, a former PAC activist, told The Express Tribune that Zafar Baloch was out of danger but was still admitted for the bullet and grenade injuries to his legs.

In answer to the allegations, he said that the leadership of the PPP has to decide a course of action. He said that their party’s workers were not behind the violence that broke out shortly after the attack on Zafar Baloch - it was a conspiracy against the PPP and defunct PAC.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2011.

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