Pakistan News

QAT stages sit-in near Bilawal House

QAT stages sit-in near Bilawal House

KARACHI: Leaders and workers of the Qaumi Awami Tehrik (QAT) on Friday staged a sit-in outside the Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine, hardly a couple of kilometres from Bilawal House, to protest against corruption and terrorism in Sindh. It was the first of the two days of protest planned by the QAT.

The protesters sat under the newly-built bridge for some hours before heading home in the evening to show up again on Saturday.

The organisers claimed that the provincial government of the Pakistan Peoples Party created a lot of obstacles in their way to discourage them from going for their protest.

“First, they said, we are not permitted to stage the sit-in and then the PPP local leadership threatened us of violence through their vicious cadres, but we still reached the place and are protesting against corruption and terrorism,” said a QAT leader.

The place of the protest was hardly 1.7km to the residence and at the time of the protest PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was visiting the Quaid-i-Azam’s mausoleum.

Containers were put in place to secure Bilawal House and surrounding areas and police were deployed in fairly large numbers creating tailbacks for motorists and bikers, who had come out to enjoy the Independence Day holiday.

Organisers claimed a large number of vehicles carrying party supporters and members could not make it to the spot because of strict security cordon.

Mohammad Hussain Mehnati of the Jamaat-i-Islami was the only leader from other political parties who joined QAT leader Ayaz Latif Palijo at the sit-in.

Party leaders said they had invited several parties to join them and expressed the hope that others would respond to their request on Saturday.

Mr Palijo was extremely critical of the PPP leadership in his conversation with the press.

He accused the provincial ministers of shipping billions of ill-gotten rupees abroad and there was no one there to take care of Sindh.

“We are living in the age when corruption is rampant and nothing is being done for the betterment of the people of Sindh leaving us with no other option but to come out and combat against this corrupt government,” he said.

He claimed that parties of all hues — from separatists to banned organisations — were being allowed to organise rallies in Karachi, but his party was not being permitted to hold a peaceful event.

He said the sit-ins were not the measures in isolation, but they would be followed by more protests being planned by his party.

He also criticised the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which, he said, had grabbed a farce popular mandate by holding gun to the people’s head. He asked the authorities to arrest the 170 ‘targeted killers’ whose list had been prepared by the Rangers.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2015

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