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Parts of Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas districts stay shut on MQM call for Sindh-wide shutdown

Parts of Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas districts stay shut on MQM call for Sindh-wide shutdown

HYDERABAD: A partial strike was observed in Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas districts while the routine life in other parts of Sindh remained unaffected on Saturday in response to a call for a business and transport shutdown in the province given by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) as part of its ‘nationwide day of mourning’ against the killing of four of its activists in Karachi a day earlier.

Sindh Rangers claimed that the MQM activists were terrorists who were killed during an encounter while the party alleged that they had been in Rangers’ custody for many weeks.

All main markets, bazaars, shops and fuel stations in Hyderabad city and Latifabad remained closed and most public and private vehicles off the road. However, Hyderabad rural and Qasimabad — also part of Hyderabad district — remained unaffected by the strike call.

In different localities of Latifabad, youths blocked roads with bricks, junk and other objects in the morning to hinder flow of vehicular traffic. They intermittently took to the streets raising slogans creating tension but no untoward incident took place till dusk. The educational institutions that normally open on Saturdays remained closed in the strike-hit areas.

The main markets and bazaars which did not open till the evening included Shahi Bazaar, Resham Bazaars, Cloth Market, Timber Market, Fakir Ka Pir, Station Road, Risala Road, Gari Khata, Haider Chowk, Al-Raheem Shopping Mall, Hirabad and Market Tower, besides all business, trade and commercial concerns in Latifabad. Rustam Shaheed Road, Station Road and other business and trade establishments in Tandojam also stayed shut.Routine life in some parts of Hyderabad including Hali Road, Sabzi Mandi, Railway Station area and Makki Shah Road also remained normal.

In Mirpurkhas district, the Mirpurkhas city areas remained completely closed but other towns and rural areas by and large ignored the MQM strike call on Saturday.

Businessmen, traders and owners of commercial organisations in the city did not open their offices and outlets at markets, shopping malls and bazaars and shopkeepers also kept their business closed for the day. Vehicular traffic on the city’s roads remained thin while fuel stations stayed shut.

Stringent security

Police and Rangers personnel intensified patrolling in sensitive areas of Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas districts early in the morning and maintained a strict check on what they called “miscreants” who would try to force people to observe a strike.

Joint units of police and paramilitary troops were also deployed at sensitive spots, including public buildings, main squares and entry/exit points of major cities.

At some places, Rangers personnel were seen assuring shopkeepers, traders and fuel stations’ operators — who arrived at their workplaces to do the normal business — of security against possible threats or violent attacks.

Meanwhile, MQM organised Quran Khwani and Dua in several cities and towns for its four deceased activists. According to an MQM press release, the party lawmakers who had since tendered their resignations from their respective elected houses, along with the zone and district office-bearers took part in the Quran Khwanis which were attended by a large number of workers and supporters wearing black armbands.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2015

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