Law and order mayhem: City shuts down abruptly for few hours

Published: March 7, 2013
Rangers in Karachi carrying out an operation in the city on Wednesday. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Rangers in Karachi carrying out an operation in the city on Wednesday. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Rangers in Karachi carrying out an operation in the city on Wednesday. PHOTO: EXPRESS Rangers in Karachi carrying out an operation in the city on Wedne. PHOTO: EXPRESS

The city shut down abruptly on Wednesday afternoon amid confusion and rumours. As residents rushed to petrol pumps and grocery stores to stock up on essentials, gunshots rang through several neighbourhoods, alerting the residents to a complete shutdown.

Sometime before the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced its indefinite protest against the government for failing to catch the culprits behind the Abbas Town blast, the city already wore a deserted look.

At least five vehicles were set on fire and four people were wounded, while the law enforcers rounded up nearly two dozen suspects for disrupting the law and order situation. A few hours later, the MQM withdrew its strike call and the city returned to normalcy. However, during those five hours of uncertainty, the whole province had braced for a strike.

Traffic was also clogged on the main arteries, such as MA Jinnah Road, II Chundrigar, Sharae Pakistan and Sharae Faisal, as people left work early to make it home safely. The situation was worse in Landhi, North Karachi, New Karachi and alNoor Society where at least five vehicles were torched.

An activist of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, Mohammad Taj, was also wounded when some men opened fire at his shop in New Karachi. They were forcing him to close down his shop. Three more men were wounded in similar cases in New Karachi, Korangi and Orangi Town.

According to a Rangers spokesperson, seven men – Jamil, Hashim, Hamid, Yousuf, Ali, Rahim and Khalid Raza – all members of a political party were taken into custody as they were torching a bus in North Karachi. Two more suspects were held by Rangers when they were firing in the air and trying to close shops in the Shahbaz commercial area of Defence.

Meanwhile, Sindh Assembly deputy speaker Shehla Raza and Information Minister Sharjeel Memon held press conferences to condemn the MQM’s strike call and insisted that they will not let anyone shut down the city.

Domino effect

Upon MQM’s earlier call for a ‘peaceful’ movement, businesses and education institutes invariably had to issue their own notices for closures.

Atrium Cinemas in Saddar shortly uploaded a photo on their Facebook page, which read “Due to the law and order situation in the city, Atrium Mall and Cinema Complex has been closed till further notice”. “Everything else is closed,” Nadeem Mandiwala, the visionary behind Atrium Cinemas, had commented. When asked about the financial loss if the cinema closed, Mandviwala did not disclose numbers. “What is the cinema owners’ loss compared to the loss of Karachi? Our loss is insignificant.”

Similarly, the associations of private schools had announced that all educational institutions would remain closed for an indefinite period of time. But after the MQM called off the strike, an announcement was made that schools would be open as per routine.

While talking to The Express Tribune, chairperson of the All Private Schools Management Association, Syed Khalid Shah, said that if educational institutions were subjected to such closures, it would have a detrimental effect on the future of the students. “Schools have opened for hardly 125 days during the current academic year,” said Shah, as he explained that a normal academic year goes up to 180 days.

Unrest in districts

The mayhem, which started in Karachi, also reached parts of Sukkur, Hyderabad, Benazirabad, Mirpurkhas and Tando Allahyar.

‘Unknown men’ fired aerial shots to shut down the markets in two of four talukas of Hyderabad district. Young men carrying sticks hit people and vehicles and burnt tyres as they roamed freely in City and Latifabad talukas. Bazaars and shopping centres in Sukkur, situated at Jinnah Chowk, Shahi Bazaar, Sarrafa Bazaar, Frere road, Mochi Bazaar and Neem ki Chari were closed immediately, while other areas remained open.

The Sindhi nationalist leaders termed the MQM’s call for an indefinite strike an attempt to ‘sabotage’ the Supreme Court’s order for the delimitation of constituencies in Karachi.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Ansari
    Mar 7, 2013 - 2:21AM

    ET, why not publish the name of the party to which the arrested guys belong? Are they Taliban also?


  • s
    Mar 7, 2013 - 2:36AM

    Isn’t the crux of your story at the bottom?Recommend

  • Saleem
    Mar 7, 2013 - 2:57AM

    Why those who were disrupting law not shot on the spot? It is time that like Police, Rangers as well are called by Supreme Court and explain what have they ever done to protect the city? Like Police IG, head of Rangers bosses in Karachi must be rolled as well.


  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Mar 7, 2013 - 6:34AM

    It is just pathetic that ET would not publish the names of these thugs and which party they belong to, all the fingers are pointing toward one party which is being controlled remotely from London. Karachi needs a person of iron will like the late General Baber from KP. This government is too weak and something got to be done by the next government otherwise few thugs will control cities and provinces.This whole episode of Karachi is shameful for the central and provincial governments and uncalled for.


  • Tahir Ali
    Mar 7, 2013 - 6:51AM

    Did the security cameras pick up photos of guys who were firing in air to shut down shops?.
    get all security films and identify them please


  • Haris
    Mar 7, 2013 - 8:28AM

    A ‘Governor’ runs the ‘Government’. Would Raza Haroon care to honestly and in no-twistign words care to explain how he can go on strike against his own ‘Governor’. And also tell us what exactly is their non-flexible plan to fix things in Karachi, a responsibility on MPAs ruling for over 14 years now. Or is it all about making bridges and roads alone, not peace and prosperity? Thankyou.Recommend

  • imran
    Mar 7, 2013 - 8:49AM

    I remember Nasir ul Allah Babar, how did he clean up all culprits. Don’t arrest just shut down on the spot. Otherwise, this will keep going on every day and police and rangers woiuld be useless. If Police and Rangers are taking ACTION then should be proper and with good planning. Good Luck.

    MQM should say something sensible, Infinite Strick is not solution.


  • Atif Ejaz
    Mar 7, 2013 - 9:34AM

    Naseer Ullah Babar is the need of the day now, Operation cleanup is the only solution for these na maloom afrraad.


  • Namaloom Afraad
    Mar 7, 2013 - 1:02PM

    And the ‘Namaloom Afrad’ will again get 20 seats from Karachi. How? Becuase more ‘Namaloom afraad’ will cast thier votes


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