Shutters down: Karachi observes day of mourning over MQM worker's killing

Six more police officials suspended on Thursday

Our Correspondent June 04, 2015
Most major markets and commercial centres in Karachi wore a deserted look on Thursday in response to MQM’s call to observe a day of mourning. PHOTO: ONLINE

KARACHI: A complete shutterdown strike was observed for the second consecutive day in Karachi following the two-day mourning call given by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) over the custodial death of a party worker. Meanwhile, six more police officials were suspended on Thursday.

MQM worker Waseem Dehlavi, who was arrested from his house by the Aziz Bhatti police on Tuesday night, was tortured to death at the police station on Wednesday.

After the post-mortem report confirmed that Dehlavi died from cardiac failure resulting from a head injury, a murder case was registered against four policemen. DSP Nasir Lodhi and SHO Maqsood Raza were suspended on Wednesday, while six more police officials were suspended on Thursday. The personnel suspended on Thursday were identified as Baldia Town DSP Enayat Qureshi, Baldia SHO Mithal Sher, SITE SHO Shahzad Ilyas, Inspector Malik Adil, the in-charge of the Zone East specialised investigation team Inspector Chaudhry Zafar and assistant sub-inspector Muhammad Aslam of the Aziz Bhatti police station. They were suspended by District Central Police chief DIG Feroz Shah who is heading the inquiry team. "I suspended these officers as they did not follow the legal procedure while the District East police raided within their jurisdiction," DIG Shah explained to The Express Tribune.

Day of mourning

In most parts of Karachi, routine and commercial activities remained suspended as the MQM observed a day of mourning on the second consecutive day to protest its worker's killing. Public transport remained thin and all major and small markets remained closed in response to the MQM's appeal to transporters and the traders to suspend public transport and commercial activities. Petrol pumps were also closed in most areas which caused problems for the citizens due to fuel shortage. In some areas, Rangers personnel forced the shopkeepers to reopen their shops, particularly in District Central.

All examination papers were postponed in educational institutions, including the University of Karachi, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology, and Jinnah University, while the Intermediate Board also postponed the exams scheduled for Thursday.

Commercial activities resumed in the city by the evening after the MQM chief Altaf Hussain expressed his gratitude to the traders and transporters and asked them to resume transport and business activities. Parts of Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah and Tando Allahyar districts also remained shut with thin traffic on the roads.

Inquiry committee

An inquiry committee has been constituted by the Sindh IG. The committee's members visited the victim's family in Baldia Town and recorded their statements including those of Dehlavi's brothers who were also taken into custody with Dehlavi but were released after his death.

Soon after the inquiry committee left Baldia Town, hundreds of people, including family members, relatives, friends and neighbours of the slain MQM worker converged at the Baldia Town police station and shouted slogans against the police. The law enforcers failed to disperse the protesters even by aerial firing until a large contingent of Rangers personnel reached.

Investigators have recorded the statements of the police officials involved in the incident. Aziz Bhatti SHO Maqsood Raza, who was reverted and suspended by the IG, said in his statement that he had arrested Waseem and his brothers as they were trying to flee on a rickshaw. SIT inspector Chaudhry Zafar said they had arrested the suspects to interrogate them about the Baldia factory fire. "Dehlavi was being shifted to the hospital after his health deteriorated, but he died on the way to the hospital," inspector Zafar, who has also been suspended, said in his statement.

MQM MNA Salman Mujahid Baloch told The Express Tribune that the party has written an application for the registration of FIRs against police officers for Dehlavi's killing. "We have written an application to the police to register a case against the relevant personnel, including Zone East SSP Pir Muhammad, DSP Nasir Lodhi and others."

The party’s chief, Altaf Hussain, expressed dissatisfaction over the constitution of the inquiry committee and said the police personnel should be arrested instead.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2015. 


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