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Monday, May 14, 2007

More Pakhtuns die in clashes MQM activists go on killing spree in Karachi

More Pakhtuns die in clashes MQM activists go on killing spree in Karachi Mahmood Afridi
KARACHI/PESHAWAR: At least eight Pakhtuns were killed and dozens injured on Sunday when MQM supporters opened indiscriminate firing on them when they were protesting against the killings on Saturday which claimed lives of more than two dozens of Pakhtuns. As soon as the Pakhtuns started their protest, suddenly MQM activists opened firing on their procession, where three were killed on the spot, the eyewitness told The Frontier Post. The victims were identified as Ishaq Qazi, 25, (Quaidabad) Saifur Rehman son of Ali Rehman (Quaidabad) and Sarwar Khan son of Abdul Raheem (Sohrab Goth), Liaqat son of Afsar Khan, Ihsan-ul-Haq (Malir) and Shabir (Faisal Colony) including two other Afghans who were killed in Sohrab Goth late in evening around nine o’clock as cashes continued till filing of this report. Those critically injured included Ahmed Faraz, Saeed Afridi and Shahid Buneri. Sources at Jinnah Hospital told this scribe that more and more injured were being brought to the trauma room of the hospital and it was becoming difficult for the hospital authorities to cope with situation arising out of incoming of large number of the injured who were running short of medicines and blood. Large number of volunteers were seen coming to the hospital to donate their blood. The worst clashes were witnessed in Sohrab Goth, Pathan Colony, Qasba Town, Landhi, Qadzafi Town, Korangi Town, Baloch Colony, Orangi Town, Quaidabaad, Gulberg and Banaras. In Federal-B area and Water Pump Gulberg area, the activists of MQM burnt the market owned by Pakhtuns and used heavy artillery against the community as there was no security officials to prevent them from attacking the procession, the sources added. The Pakhtuns in their defense also used stones and anything they could lay their hands on in order to save their lives. Some elders even went into mosques for shelter. At least 35 people are missing reportedly as their families are looking for them in hospitals but failed to trace them. A doctor at Jinnah Hospital told this scribe that when someone visited the injured or to take the dead bodies of their relatives, the security officials along with police would abuse them and also refused to handover the dead bodies. Many families were complaining regarding this bizarre situation but doctors remained helpless. “Also intelligence officials in the hospitals were keeping the death tolls figure low as no one is allowed to speak with nurses or doctors and the visitors are told to go home as it’s a risk to stay in hospitals,” the sources told. Reports pouring in from Karachi revealed that a large number of vehicles and petrol pumps were set ablaze in different parts of this port city. Rangers and police arrested dozens of Pakhtuns as they were protesting against the killings. ANP party workers burnt two offices of MQM in Baldia Town and New Sabzi Mandi, however, no report of any injured or dead could be ascertained. In Gulistan Johar, during ANP-PPP procession, a group of MQM activists came face to face and started attacking each other. In this clash, three activists of MQM were injured. An unconfirmed source told that at least one person was dead but when contacted MQM office, they did not confirm the death of their activists. Several workers of PPP were also arrested from Jinnah Hospital as they had come to enquire about their injured relatives and friends. Late in evening in Sohrab Goth, two groups of MQM activists and Afghan refugees were clashed in which MQM workers targeted the innocent Afghans believing that as if they were also Pakhtuns. Sindh Governor Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ebad ordered Rangers to shoot on site. Secretary Interior Syed Kamal Shah said the Rangers have been given powers to fire at miscreants. The Pakhtuns -dominated areas remained the target of violence on Sunday. All bazaars and many petrol stations were closed and traffic remained very thin on the city roads. The funerals of the deceased were offered across Karachi City while some of the dead bodies were sent to their native cities and villages. The National Transport Ittehad Karachi on Sunday announcing full backing of strike call of Monday May 14 said that all public transport including buses, minibuses, coaches, rickshaws, taxis and inter-provincial transport would not ply on Monday. In a joint statement National Transport Ittehad Chairman Saleem Khan Bangash, President Raja Muhammad Rafiq and others expressed sorrow and grief on killing of about 40 innocent persons, injuries to more than 150 and torching of transport vehicles. They said that the rulers who failed to provide security of life and property to citizens had no right to rule further. Saleem Khan Bungash charged that Muttahida activists highjacked hundreds of their vehicles at gunpoint on Friday, May 11 evening. He charged that these elements enjoyed full protection of police. He said that the police also impounded hundreds of their vehicles, and many of them were torched during riots. They warned that if compensation for their damaged vehicles was not paid by May 18, 2007, the transporters would announce a strike for indefinite period. They appealed to the owners of buses, minibuses, coaches, rickshaws, taxies and inter-provincial transport to keep their vehicles off road on Monday, May 12, 2007. Meanwhile, Anjuman-e-Ettehad Bus Malikan Karachi (regd) Sunday said that they did not back the strike call of the opposition, but they would ply their vehicles on Monday if the government provided them with full security. Muhammad Ashraf Banglori, Chaudhry Mazahar Hussain, Lala Sultan and other leaders of Anjuman-e-Ettehad Bus Malikan Karachi (regd) in their joint statement said that the transporter community would not allow political parties to use transporters for their political purposes. They said that if the government provide them ‘complete protection’ they would ply them on city roads.

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