KARACHI: In reaction to the deadly attack on its rally, the Awami Tehreek (AT) said it would exact revenge but would give the state a chance to expose the culprits behind Tuesday’s bloodshed.
The party’s disheartened president, Ayaz Latif Palijo, held a press conference after their ‘Mohajir Suba Na-manzoor’ (Mohajir province not acceptable) rally at the Karachi Press Club. He alleged that an ally of the Sindh government was behind the killings. “The gunmen shot dead innocent women. Several of our women are still missing,” he said. “The law-enforcement agencies did not take prompt action. The government let Sindhis die.” No one was carrying weapons at the rally, innocent people were targeted, he said.
Palijo said that he had received several phone messages warning that a May 12 would be repeated. They referred to the day in 2007 when gun battles erupted on the streets of Karachi at the height of the lawyers’ movement. “The same day was repeated,” said Palijo. “The terrorists attacked innocent people. Our sisters were targeted and the AT will take revenge. The whole province, from Kashmore to Karachi, will observe a complete shutter-down strike.”
He appealed to all the political parties to support the strike call and hold peaceful protests. The AT president appealed to the chief justice to take suo motu notice of the killings. “I question all political parties and the government to answer for the killings of May 22,” he said. “Will anyone from […] party question what kinds of games are being played?”
Palijo was accompanied by Abdul Bari Kakar of the Awami National Party, Ameer Bhambhro of the Sindh National Party, Ali Hasan Chandio of the Sindh National Movement, Dr Abdul Hayee Baloch and several nationalist leaders. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Jamaat-e-Islami also supported him.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2012.