Pushed to the wall: Batons, barriers keep protesters clear of fortified Bilawal House

Published: December 29, 2013
Email
The PTI workers and supporters who had gathered at Boat Basin were not allowed by the law enforcers to move towards the Bilawal House on Sunday. PHOTOS: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

The PTI workers and supporters who had gathered at Boat Basin were not allowed by the law enforcers to move towards the Bilawal House on Sunday. PHOTOS: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

KARACHI: 

Armed with flags, banners, spray paint and shovels, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) hoped to register its condemnation of the wall barricading Bilawal House on Sunday. But what transpired on the sunny afternoon of the ‘Movement against Bilawal House’ at Boat Basin left supporters flabbergasted.

“What did we do wrong?” exclaimed one angry participant. “We were here to register a peaceful protest but we were attacked.”

http://xpresstribune.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/pti-04.jpg

All main arteries leading to Bilawal House, including the road from Park Towers, were blocked [bottom left]. PHOTOS: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

His anger was in reaction to the baton charge on protestors by police in riot gear. At about 3pm, the roundabout where Mai Kolachi meets Boat Basin was fortified by lines of daunting policemen. Some brandished wicked looking lathis, others walked about with tear gas canisters, waiting for a nod from a supervisor. “Madam, you should move to the side or you’ll complain if you get hurt in this action,” one security official said, as he adjusted his helmet.

With knee and shoulder pads strapped to his limbs, he waved his dusty shield to beckon comrades on the other side of the road. Together, on instructions, a row of burly police personnel charged at a handful of PTI supporters, led by Dr Awab Alvi, son of MNA Arif Alvi.

His shouts of “death to Sindh Police” and “we are here to save the country” were cut short by wallops from a resolute policeman. Other party supporters were grabbed by the collars of their hoodies and pushed back, all the time being warned by police officials not to advance towards the road leading to Bilawal Chowrangi.

http://xpresstribune.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/pti-02.jpg

A fight broke out when workers of the PPP also arrived at the scene. PHOTOS: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

As the crowd of riled up party supporters dispersed, muddied PTI flags lined the pavement. “Why can’t they just protest at the press club?” asked an exasperated DSP Sarwar Commando. “Why can’t they just do this from somewhere far? The mummy daddy crowd has been swarming these shops since this morning,” he said, pointing towards the shuttered halwa puri joints. “If we hadn’t closed them down, women and children would have been among those protesting and it would have been very difficult to hold them back.”

Another superintendent of the police said the PTI workers were baton-charged because they vandalised property, and that the riot police had been especially called in from “headquarters”. One policeman confessed that he had no idea what place he was deployed at, just that the government had given them breakfast in the morning and issued orders to control mayhem.

http://xpresstribune.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/pti-03.jpg

PTI MPA Arif Alvi berated the law enforcers for not providing the protesters security. PHOTOS: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

As the fever of the botched protest simmered down, all that was left at the Boat Basin roundabout was the presence of armed policemen.

The Peoples ‘Party’

http://xpresstribune.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/pti-01.jpg

Across Park Towers in Clifton, PPP supporters enjoyed a festive atmosphere while dancing to their party songs. PHOTOS: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

Across Park Towers in Clifton, euphoric Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) supporters danced to ‘Bijja Teer Bijja’ blaring from large speakers placed in a Suzuki pick-up. Some danced using their PPP flags as accessories, while other clutched at their mirror-worked Sindhi caps as they broke into a move.

While a party insider confirmed to The Express Tribune that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was inside the House during the protest, about a hundred or so supporters pledged to protect the party’s patron-in-chief till their last breath.

“We are with Bilawal,” said Waseem Chandio from the PS-113 constituency. “Because of Imran Khan our Sunday has been ruined. If his party hadn’t issued this call for a protest, we would all be sitting home enjoying the day off with our wives and children. Even you are out baking in the sun because of him.”

While most of the early afternoon hours on the ‘PPP side’ were spent  doing the jhummar to catchy tunes, when news of a scuffle between PTI and PPP activists at Boat Basin reached Park Towers, jiyalas became furious.

“Why are they attacking our political Mecca?” one supporter, Waleed asked. “They have not come to be peaceful. They have attacked our workers; we will attack them in retaliation. We are ready to lay down our lives for Bilawal.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2013.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (30)

  • Ahsan Raza
    Dec 30, 2013 - 12:03AM

    Complete mockery of law

    Recommend

  • Asad
    Dec 30, 2013 - 12:05AM

    Bilawal Zardari has legitimate security concerns but that doesn’t mean he can break the law. Pakistan is not his private fieldom. Demolish that wall!

    Recommend

  • Zeshan
    Dec 30, 2013 - 12:18AM

    PPP terrorists.

    Recommend

  • Khurram Awan
    Dec 30, 2013 - 12:37AM

    PTI talking about erasing Bilawal house and Raiwind but interestingly Imran Khan’s own house is bigger than Bilawal house and spans more than 300 Kanals on a very prime land in Islamabad.

    Recommend

  • Nazia
    Dec 30, 2013 - 12:42AM

    There is urgent need to clear Karachi from terrorist supporters.

    Recommend

  • Shabbir
    Dec 30, 2013 - 12:42AM

    As you can clearly see, PPP goons attacked PTI. Why does media keep saying ‘clash between’ or ‘both sides’. It was clearly one sided as PPP was backed by Sindh police.

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Dec 30, 2013 - 12:49AM

    After Bilawal’s speech that reminded of a young ZAB, the PTI supporters want to impose vigilante justice by force. They forget to understand that Karachi is the city that always elected MQM and PPP in every “fair” election.
    When would these vigilante show this kind of militancy against those killers of Polio workers and TTP terrorists? TTP cannot openly show their street power except in the form of right wing parties like JI, PTI and likes.

    Recommend

  • Zain
    Dec 30, 2013 - 12:49AM

    If protest here is illegal and wall is legal

    then Why PPP guys allowed to protest here on government property?

    Recommend

  • Parvez
    Dec 30, 2013 - 12:51AM

    This is an excellent opportunity for Bilawal Bhutto to do the right thing ( open the road ) and show that he is his own man.

    Recommend

  • saeed
    Dec 30, 2013 - 1:05AM

    PPP goons with Police and administration lathi charged the peaceful protesters…for once tell them to come open without hiding behind there government machinery and see what will happen…when I see PPP..MQM..PML N..ANP..JUI F all attacking PTI every day..I really feel proud of voting PTI as I Know PTI is doing things which is getting on to the nerves of these parties..All the status co parties future is in dangerous barbecue of PTI..if PTI succeeds..they will finish..This is the reason why they will go to every length to discredit and fail PTI…you will a lot of ugly tactics by the status co in the future..from Karachi to Khyber..

    Recommend

  • Ada
    Dec 30, 2013 - 1:07AM

    Time—yes, Mr.Bilawal, time is never the same for any one. How your goons attacked a peaceful rally today will not be forgotten.
    There will come a time when Pakistan will be rid of its jagirdaari-wadera-industrialist-bureaucratic nexus for good and in that sacred moment of time, we will return, not only to pull down the wall surrounding your palatial palace which goes by the name of Bilawal House but every symbol of high-handedness, elitism, exceptionalism and feudalism that has ruled the roost in this country till now. Time was never loyal to the Shah of Iran or to Muatassim Al-Billah or to Saddam Hussein or to Mubarak or to Musharraf. It is, in the final run, the best judge of all that we do, accomplish or aspire to achieve.

    Recommend

  • Fahad
    Dec 30, 2013 - 1:12AM

    There is a big difference between Bilawal House and the Blocked road. PTI wants to open the blocked road which was not made for the Lord Bilawal but for the COMMON MAN.

    PPP acting as if PTI is attacking Bilawal House. Shameful tactics.

    Recommend

  • Mohammed
    Dec 30, 2013 - 1:21AM

    What losers the PPP supporters are: they are treated like common rubbish by corrupt politicians like Zardari and still they turn out. The Serf mentality will never end.

    Recommend

  • Salman Ahmed
    Dec 30, 2013 - 1:29AM

    What drivel…. law enforcers should be enforcing the law and ensuring that the blockades are removed as had been ordered by the court….. Not beating up PTI supporters who want the law to be enforced.

    So I guess that Bilawal is the buzdil one… who cannot live without the barricades around him.

    Recommend

  • Striver
    Dec 30, 2013 - 1:52AM

    “We are ready to lay down our lives for Bilawal.”

    This one sentence says it all. The mentality of the “jeallas” defies logic.

    Your life is important to you and your family. Give up your life and you leave them grieving for you. Sooner not and later you will be forgotten by your party. Your family will remember you for ever.

    Think who will look after them after you have laid down your lives for the like of Bilawals of this world. After you, may be (may be not) your grieving family will get a few thousand rupees that comes from the loot and spoils your “leaders” accumulated from the very people they are supposed to protect and improves the lives of.

    No Bilawal of this world is worth giving up your life for. Your life is precious only to you and your family. Live long.

    Recommend

  • Navaid
    Dec 30, 2013 - 1:58AM

    MQM is loving this. Keep it up idiots.

    Recommend

  • polpot
    Dec 30, 2013 - 2:10AM

    So Zardari doesnt only flaunt the Swiss Courts
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    But also Pakistani.

    Recommend

  • THE
    Dec 30, 2013 - 2:18AM

    Lord Bilawal Zardari is above the law and these court rulings don’t apply to him at all. How dare the people who live in Clifton talk about taking down the walks of his palace?!!
    They are mummy daddy brats and have not right to pass on the road besides Lord Bilawal Zardari’s palace. His Royal Highness Lord Bilawal Zardari is also building walks around his houses in Dubai and London.

    Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Dec 30, 2013 - 2:36AM

    HH Bilawal Zardari, the leader of part of the “poor”..
    Please grant permission to the “poor” people to use the road.
    I remain,
    Your Kummee Poor Voter.

    Recommend

  • Salman
    Dec 30, 2013 - 3:31AM

    “Because of Imran Khan our sunday has been ruined”. Hilarious! What about the 5 years of Pakistan that have been ruined in last govt of PPP?

    Regardless of what happened, remember one fact. The wall, according to the courts, is illegal.

    Recommend

  • Salman
    Dec 30, 2013 - 3:34AM

    @Khurram Awan:
    Sir, no one talked about erasing bilawal house or raiwind, just the wall which according to sindh high court is illegal. As far as I know, no court has said Imran’s residence is illegal.

    Recommend

  • Anon
    Dec 30, 2013 - 7:01AM

    @Khurram Awan: you obviously have no clue where IK lives, do you? Prime location… haha!

    Recommend

  • Hammad Siddiqui
    Dec 30, 2013 - 8:20AM

    I wish we starts movement against all the road blocks in Karachi. In addition to the road to Billawal House, areas where political leaders or top police officials live are blocked. Kindly take account of all these roads and make them free for the residents of Karachi.

    I think media and every civil society organization should take part in this movement. Show them the people’s power.

    Recommend

  • Dec 30, 2013 - 9:35AM

    If the PTI protesters were less than a hundred, there was no reason for the PPP to go in for the overkill. The PTI is a determined party with a formidable and educated leadership spread all over the country. Salams

    Recommend

  • ali ahmed
    Dec 30, 2013 - 10:46AM

    PTI wanted to mobilise it workers before LB poll…if it was sincere regarding blocked road PTI should have approached SHC for implementation..

    Recommend

  • Justice Miscarried
    Dec 30, 2013 - 2:33PM

    Typical feudal mindset. Protecting, privilege, pelf, and personification are the same attitudes that led to the disintegration of the country. Political power was not transferred to a majority non-feudal party since feudalism was threatened. Unless, Pakistan can get rid of feudalism, genuine democracy won’t be possible and the people would continue to suffer.

    Recommend

  • oBSERVER
    Dec 30, 2013 - 7:49PM

    In Karachi no political worker is safe without a Party DANDA WING.PTI has learnt this and now ponder about it. For any Party in power as PPPP is in Sindh, Police acts as the Danda wing. In Punjab all civil servants are PML N employees and Police its Danda Wing some times called the Armed Wing. Democracy Pakistan Style.

    Recommend

  • M Ayesha
    Dec 30, 2013 - 8:24PM

    it must be PTI MNA not PTI MPA Arif Alvi…..Poor ET typo staff…

    Recommend

  • Arshad Khan
    Dec 31, 2013 - 12:00AM

    PPP and PMLN are two parties that have pushed Pakistan to what it is today. Both have turned very ordinary present leaders into semi-gods. Party members of both the parties are living on the small mercies distributed by their god fathers. Both parties are dynastic and have no concept of democratic set up in their own party. Their leaders, their children, and relatives have assumed the divine rights to rule Pakistan. Both are the harbingers of death and darkness for the common man in Pakistan. Both live in a world of their own, insulated from the public.Both are irrelevant in present day age. Both must go.

    Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Dec 31, 2013 - 5:48AM

    @Arshad Khan:

    Let the people of Pakistan not forget that it was Karachiwalas who instigated the riots which could not be controlled by the policey.

    Rex Minor

    Recommend

More in Sindh