A rally of Shuhada Committee of Shikarpur comprising more than 1,200 protesters was scheduled to reach Karachi late at night on Tuesday. The participants of the long march will be protesting outside CM House today.
After the initial rally at Numaish Chowrangi, the protesters will march towards CM House, which will be the site of their sit-in, said Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) deputy secretary-general Amin Shaheedi.
The people, travelling in buses, wagons and cars, demand an operation in Shikarpur to deal with terrorists in the region. "It is very unfortunate that that the government has a soft corner for terrorists and looters but are not ready to listen to innocent people who are being killed every day," said Shaheedi.
The comments of senior minister Nisar Khuhro on the absence of ambulances in the aftermath of the imambargah attack pained us the most, Shuhada Committee leader Allama Maqsood Domki told The Express Tribune. "If this is what the attitude of the government will be, it will be nearly impossible for us to have a dialogue with them," he said.
Shaheedi also disclosed that Khuhro and Sindh Assembly deputy speaker Shehla Raza met the Shuhada Committee at 3am on Monday, when they were in Bhit Shah. "We refused to talk to them as we wanted all dialogue to happen in the light of day and not secretly at night," he said.
The protesters are determined to stay outside CM House until their demands are met.
Earlier, MWM leader Allama Raja Abbas Nasir spoke to the protesters while they gathered at Hyderabad bypass. The entire city of Karachi will join the MWM sit-in to protest the Shikarpur imambargah attack, he said. He complained that the real crackdown against terrorism has yet to start. "The Shia-Sunni conflict does not exist here," he claimed. "Extremists groups are involved in these attacks."
Section 144 imposed
Meanwhile, the government imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in the city's red zone, which includes CM House and Governor House, anticipating a large turnout in the Shikarpur sit-in. This section bans the gathering of more than five people at one place, particularly rallies and protests.
On Tuesday night, all routes leading to CM House were blocked and a large number of law enforcers were deployed. DSP Iftikhar Lodhi said it will depend on the situation whether or not the police try to stop the protesters.
The lawmakers also discussed the long march during Tuesday's Sindh Assembly session. Senior Minister Khuhro, Dr Sikandar Mandhro, Ali Nawaz Mahar, Jam Khan Shoro and Zia Lanjhar held talks with the participants of the Shikarpur Shuhada Committee's long march in Bhit Shah but failed to convince them to withdraw.
"They were not willing to talk," said Khuhro, adding that the representatives told the MPAs they will talk in Karachi.
The provincial government has accepted all their demands, including a targeted operation in Shikarpur, issuing arms licences and jobs to the victims' heirs, he added. "The long march is unjustified," he said, adding that the government was afraid of a terrorist activity targeting the protesters.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional's Imtiaz Shaikh disclosed during the session that the compensation cheques given to the families by the Sindh government have not been accepted by Sindh Bank. The bank management has allegedly been directed by the government not to accept these cheques as the long march participants were not cooperating with the provincial government, he claimed, but Pakistan Peoples Party's Murad Ali Shah denied these accusations.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2015.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ