After a full day of mourning for the people who have been killed in Karachi, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s decision-making body asked cities to go back to life by iftar on Tuesday.
Business and public transport, that had vanished during the day, went back to work towards sunset.
“It has been decided that all the markets in the city will be opened after 5 pm,” announced Karachi Markets Association chairman Atiq Mir.
Private schools were officially closed and while government schools and colleges were open, students stayed at home. Karachi University had postponed all exams. The Sindh Board of Technical Education and Matric Board Office stayed closed.
“We are facing a real shortage of medical staff today,” informed Dr Qarar Ahmed of Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. “Many doctors, who were at the night shift, have been asked to continue work.”
At least five more people were reported dead and 11 others injured in firing in flashpoints across the city. The aerial firing was particularly bad in Gulistan-e-Johar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Patel Para, Golimar, Pak Colony and Nazimabad. Rangers and police did little else but try to keep removing the burning tyres on the roads and dousing the flames.
A few areas in Hyderabad and its adjoining districts observed the day of mourning. Shops and businesses in the City and Latifabad tehsils remained closed while some of the markets in Qasimabad and Rural Hyderabad tehsils were open. “Stop the genocide of Urdu-speaking people, stop the massacre of Mohajirs,” chanted groups of protesters carrying black flags and wearing black arm-bands outside the press club. “Stop killing the children of the founders of Pakistan, don’t punish the founders of the country for creating Pakistan,” they yelled.
They demanded that the prime minister and provincial ministers resign for failing to control the situation in Karachi. They also called for compensation of up to Rs2 million to the family of each victim, as well as jobs for the relatives of those killed in target killings.
Unlike Karachi, there was no violence reported in Hyderabad, however, there were instances where tyres were burnt and stones were thrown at cars. Some roads were also blocked as the number of policemen on the roads was conspicuously low. Black flags were hoisted in different parts of the city including the MQM zonal, sector and unit offices.
There were a very small number of heavy vehicles travelling to and from Karachi and Hyderabad on the Super, National and Indus highways. In addition to the schools and colleges in Hyderabad, attendance in the three universities in Jamshoro and one in Tandojam was also very low as there was no transport. Work in industrial areas was also affected.
The Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Association of Traders Hyderabad, Jewellers Association of Sarafa Bazaar and other traders responded to the call and voluntarily closed their businesses until Tuesday evening.
A Quran Khawani was organised at MQM’s zonal office at Bhai Khan. Some areas of Mirpurkhas, Tando Muhammad Khan, Matiari and Tando Allahyar also responded to MQM’s call for a day of mourning.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2011.