Mohajir province controversy: Firing on pro-Sindh rally sets off alarm bells

Published: May 23, 2012
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Arsonists went on a rampage following an attack on Awami Tehreek’s rally. PHOTO: PPI

Arsonists went on a rampage following an attack on Awami Tehreek’s rally. PHOTO: PPI

KARACHI: 

Snipers hidden in buildings attacked an anti-Mohajir province rally, unleashing panic that subsequently left 13 people dead over the rest of the day and over 35 others injured by the end of Tuesday.

The rally was organised by the Awami Tehreek (AT), a Sindh-based nationalist party. The rally was led by AT’s president, Ayaz Latif Palijo, who was accompanied by Lyari’s Uzair Jan Baloch, Zafar Baloch and other leaders. “We’ll die but we won’t let Sindh be divided,” chanted the protesters.

Of note was the participation and support put forward for the rally by members of mainstream political parties Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Awami National Party (ANP).

Titled ‘Mohabbat-e-Sindh (Love of Sindh)’, the march started out as a peaceful one – with a few thousand men, women and children at Lyari’s Ath Chowk. Their destination was the Karachi Press Club but they came under attack at Napier Road, just a half hour after they headed out at 3:30pm.

About 14 people were injured in the initial firing, while three were said to have died at the hospital. What followed was a spate of violent incidents across the city.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has ordered a judicial inquiry into the attack.  According to a spokesperson for the CM House, a serving judge of the Sindh High Court will probe the violence.

Meanwhile, the AT has called for a province-wide shutter-down strike against the killings – and has vowed to avenge the deaths.  On the other hand, a high level meeting on Karachi violence will convene today (Wednesday) at the CM House. Interior Minister Rehman Malik is expected to attend. Chief Minister Shah, who also holds the acting charge of the home ministry, has appealed to the business community to open markets, promising government-provided security.

The ill-fated rally was organised in reaction to the increasing appearance of graffiti calling for a separate Mohajir province to be carved out of Sindh. Sindhi nationalists had already reacted badly a day before and the government had issued orders for the inflammatory wall chalking to be removed.

Later, the interior minister in messages posted on mirco-blogging website Twitter pinned the blame on PML-N – saying the party would have to answer why they incited violence when Lyari had just begun to calm down.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Sindhi_Pakistani
    May 23, 2012 - 4:13AM

    This is sad day of history of Pakistan. Attacking innocent people during a peaceful rally is abhorring and shameful act. Culprits should be exposed, otherwise situation may go out of control because whole Pakistani nation in general and Sindhis in particular are truly hurt on this violence and killing of innocent people. Chief Justice takes notices of every thing, why is he silent on this massacre of Sindhis in their own city? We have no hope in incomptent PPP-MQM Govt. We request CJ to take suo motu notice to expose culprits behind this heinous action. Justice is all we demand!

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  • Sindhi_Pakistani
    May 23, 2012 - 4:39AM

    Stop pushing Sindhis to WALLS. Stop this massacre and genocide of sons of soil in their own cities. Protest is our right and no one can snatch this right from us. And those urdu speaking people who own Sindh as their motherland, their place is in our heart, and they should also stand by us and condemn violence against peaceful rally of Awami Tahreek but those who are conspiring against Sindh, will face wrath of Sindhis. For the protection of territorial integrity of Sindh, every son of soil will happily scarifice his life.

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  • Pungi
    May 23, 2012 - 5:02AM

    Karachiites plzz Use your brains & get rid of these ruling elite of PPP, MQM & ANP..!!
    They will never allow peace to prevail in Karachi..support that party which talks about people of Karachi & people of Pakistan regardless of their ethnicity..!

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  • Omer
    May 23, 2012 - 6:21AM

    Enough is Enough, all the criminals from all over Pakistan come and create problems in Karachi. We want a separate province, with very strong local institutions and the police answerable to the local government. I think we should have this for the rest of the Pakistan as well.
    Also, revenue generated from Karachi should be invested in Karachi.

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  • Animal Farm - Desi
    May 23, 2012 - 6:56AM

    The worst tribute to those killed in violence is to seek violence to avenge their deaths.

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  • moonjely sony
    May 23, 2012 - 7:09AM

    good , reality of making mohajir homeland (suba) is coming true, we will have our own state, our own government.

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  • Shah
    May 23, 2012 - 8:18AM

    I don’t get it why is there so much fuss if they are talks about a new province in sindh! No one made a fuss in Punjab or KP just to remind these crazy nationalist parties Karachi was not part of sindh when Pakistan came in to existence it was pakistans capital! Another thing that triggers in to my mind is how come this incident took place in a ppp and layeri dominant area! There is certainly something fishy, DON’T BE TOO QUICK TO BLAME IT ON MQM ET.

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  • Mirza
    May 23, 2012 - 8:39AM

    It is a very sad day in the history of Pakistan. All major political parties should come out and tell the people of Pakistan what is their stand about this issue? In any case the killings of innocent citizens must be condemned and investigated.

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  • Junaid Ali
    May 23, 2012 - 8:46AM

    New Provinces in other Punjab and KP then why not Sindh? There should be a uniformity in decisions and administration.

    However I believe The new provinces should be made on Administrative lines and the ethnic names of old provinces should be removed.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    May 23, 2012 - 9:18AM

    This is what happens when you start partitioning provinces, Punjab is the first, next will be Sindh and then KP and Baluchistan. It is inevitable when the process one starts. Look at Canada, it has 10 provinces and 3 Territories. Australia has 6 states including Tasmania (an island but treated as a State) and 3 Internal and 6 External Territories – mostly islands. UK has 83 counties outside London and Isles of Scilly. Since Norman invasion of 1066 there were first 35 and then other counties like Somerset and Gloucester became Gloucestershire in 1400’s I think. Couties were formed as taxation units by the Crown. Pakistan is becoming more like United Arab Emirate – small independent states each with 1-1/2 inch mosque.

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  • May 23, 2012 - 9:26AM

    there are mushroom of raising new provinces why not another province like ‘mojar suba’ .. we must be cool minded and accept reality.

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  • May 23, 2012 - 9:54AM

    Divide and conquer.

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  • Shahrukh kazmi
    May 23, 2012 - 10:00AM

    There will be a Civil war soon and this is because we still support these political parties. We will never unite until we act like Pakistani’s and this couldn’t be happen any time sooner.

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  • Karachitie
    May 23, 2012 - 10:08AM

    @Omer:
    bhai sahib, there are legal ways to do that, why are national and provincial assemblies??

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  • Majid
    May 23, 2012 - 10:41AM

    @Moise, you said it all.

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  • May 23, 2012 - 10:43AM

    Say NO to provinces on the ethnic basis…

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  • Kay Kay
    May 23, 2012 - 10:45AM

    @Animal Farm – Desi:

    We need people like you, brother.

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  • Holmes
    May 23, 2012 - 10:57AM

    After looking at these events It seems JinnahPur issue was true.

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  • Holmes
    May 23, 2012 - 11:01AM

    Muhajir Suba is an unjust demand by those who are the most privileged & living in the most developed area of Pakistan. Raising such calls out of no where is a part of international conspiracy to internally destabilize Pakistan, i think i don’t need to mention who is part of this conspiracy as everyone knows.

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  • rafiq
    May 23, 2012 - 11:03AM

    @Billoo Bhaya:
    uk dont even have one province or state!!!!!!!

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  • rafiq
    May 23, 2012 - 11:04AM

    @Shah:
    napiear road is not ppp area do ur reaserch!!!!!!

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  • rafiq
    May 23, 2012 - 11:07AM

    @moonjely sony:
    and the transfer of looted wealth to uk would be much easier!!!!!
    god blessed the thoughts

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  • Pakistani
    May 23, 2012 - 11:09AM

    One day we will become one Pakistani nation Inshallah

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  • Realistic
    May 23, 2012 - 11:31AM

    Rehman Malik is with PPP but serving the interest of others. Strange why he is in front line to date?

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  • true_blue_pakistani
    May 23, 2012 - 11:33AM

    Mohajir province, why not? ?

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  • A J Khan
    May 23, 2012 - 11:36AM

    USA and Canada are the nations of immigrants, but has anyone seen any state named after immigrants???

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  • A J Khan
    May 23, 2012 - 11:41AM

    Did Liaqat Ali Khan or any of his accompanying friends bring a piece of Land along when they were coming from India???

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  • azam
    May 23, 2012 - 12:02PM

    we need 12 provinces (but on administrative basis, not linguistic)…then we would have 12 capital and major influx of migrants to lahore and karachi could be distributed in other metros

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  • sachal sarmast
    May 23, 2012 - 1:54PM

    I was deeply disappointed by the comments of MQM leaders in media that killings of innocent persons yesterday were direct outcome of hate-speeches.

    Mediocrity and myopia still rules the roost in MQM intellect

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  • Sagacious
    May 23, 2012 - 3:57PM

    @ Animal Farm – Desi, we all have become insane with hatred

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  • Imran
    May 23, 2012 - 6:17PM

    Everyone was very gleeful in cutting up Punjab. Why cry now that Sindh is being cut ??

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  • SH
    May 23, 2012 - 6:55PM

    What is wrong with ET? Even the headline is biased– Pro-Sindh? this was a rally taken out by Awami Tehreek and bunch of questionable leaders from Lyari for their own agenda!

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  • Kamal
    May 24, 2012 - 11:25AM

    All problems will be solved. More Muhajirs are coming from India, Bangladesh and Burma.

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  • Hameedullah
    May 25, 2012 - 8:52PM

    @Shah:
    Your knowledge of history is pathetic. Karachi was part of Sindh even in the colonial era. When Pakistan was formed then it was made capital but it was part of Sindh in that period too. Then it was rightly made the capital of Sindh.
    Now answering your question that why the fuss over the new province? Fuss will be for you but everyone has the right to protest peacefully which the rally members did. When Muhajjir Suba protests were held people “smoothly” approached the red zone area. They held their protests and left unharmed then why members of Love Sindh rally were attacked? Why it wasn’t allowed to pass peacefully. I don’t think your righteous self realizes this. You allow the right of expression to only a select group of people. Why?

    PS: Read some history.

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  • Hameedullah
    May 25, 2012 - 8:58PM

    @Imran: Because in Punjab people are demanding it and there is no any resistance from the people. In Sindh there is a wide resistance to the MST. People don’t want their land divided. Also in Siraiki suba is a legitimate one as they are living there for thousand years.
    @SH:
    You mean being Pro Sindh is biased? What is wrong in holding a rally declaring love for one’s land.

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