SUKKUR/ HYDERABAD/ KARACHI:
The city wore a deserted look following the protest call by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) against the Rangers' raid at the party's headquarters on Wednesday.
All major commercial centres and markets remained closed while public transport remained thin on major thoroughfares throughout the day. The situation remained tense despite repeated appeals by the Rangers and police asking traders to resume business activities. All educational institutions also announced to postpone exams scheduled for the day. The new schedule for the papers will be announced at a later date.
Meanwhile, protesters took to the streets in some parts of the city where they set tyres on fire and blocked major thoroughfares by erecting barricades. At least three vehicles and a tea stall were reportedly set on fire. The most affected areas in terms of rioting were Sharae Pakistan, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Malir and Korangi.
Other parts of Sindh
Parts of Hyderabad district and some commercial centres in Tando Allahyar, Mirpurkhas and Sanghar districts remained closed in response to the MQM's protest call. The unannounced strike also affected educational institutions.Protesters also burnt tyres in some areas. Public transport from Hyderabad to other districts was also suspended.
Thousands of people gathered at the party's Hyderabad zonal office to express solidarity with the party and to hear the MQM chief Altaf Hussain's speech. They shouted slogans against the Rangers personnel, accusing the security forces of taking discriminatory action against the MQM workers.
Meanwhile in Sukkur, a partial shutter down strike was observed against the raid. Though there were no incidents of violence, shopkeepers in the centre of Sukkur kept their businesses shut out of fear of rioting. Most other commercial centres, however, remained open. A large contingent of police and Rangers personnel was deployed at different places to avoid any untoward incidents. No strike was observed in other parts of upper Sindh, but MQM workers staged a protest demonstration in Larkana, Khairpur and Jacobabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2015.
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