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Parts of Hyderabad district shut on MQM’s call for Sindh-wide strike

Parts of Hyderabad district shut on MQM’s call for Sindh-wide strike

HYDERABAD: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) call for a Sindh-wide strike on Wednesday was responded positively in the Hyderabad and Latifabad talukas and parts of Mirpurkhas city but general ignored by people of all other interior districts.

In Hyderabad district, main markets, bazaars and shops remained closed and vehiclar traffic off the road in two talukas, Hyderabad and Latifabad, but the routine life in Qasimabad was not affected.

The MQM had given the call late on Tuesday evening in protest against a siege by a Rangers team of a neighbourhood within the PIB Colony in Karachi for the arrest of an MQM member of the Sindh Assembly, Kamran Farooqui, wanted by the law-enforcement agencies in some criminal cases.

Dr Farooq Sattar, MQM’s parliamentary party leader in the National Assembly, reacted sharply over the siege when the Rangers team knocked at the door of his house, situated within the neighbourhood, to ask his family if MPA Farooqui had taken shelter inside. Later, the party’s coordination committees in Karachi and London also strongly condemned the siege of “Dr Sattar’s house and neighbourhood” and urged MQM supporters to observe a strike across the province on Wednesday to register their protest.

However, reports from most districts of the interior of Sindh suggested that routing trade, business and commercial activities began as usual in the morning and continued without any disruption into the evening.

In the Hyderabad and Latifabad talukas of Hyderabad district, no main markets, bazaars and commercial establishments opened in the morning and stayed closed in the afternoon even after MQM’s appeal, made at around 2pm, calling off the strike.

Groups of enraged activists were seen raising slogans against the siege and placing burning tyres in the middle of a few roads in Latifabad in the morning. They littered the roads with bricks to disrupt flow of vehicular traffic if it emerged on the thoroughfares.

However, no violent incident took place as a complete shutdown was observed in both the talukas from dawn to dusk. Fuel stations and small shops also remained closed.

Police and Rangers kept patrolling in various parts of Hyderabad district to meet any eventuality but did not intervene when activists raised slogans and burned tyres at certain places.

In the evening, a number of MQM activists held a demonstration outside the local press club.

The participants, led by MQM lawmakers Sabir Qaimkhani, Rashid Khilji, Ayesha Aftab and Waseem Hussain, raised slogans against “oppression” against their party and leaders by the Sindh Rangers and other law-enforcement agencies and demanded an immediate halt to it.

Speaking to the partipants, who were carrying placards and banners, the lawmakers alleged that state machinery was being used to crush the MQM under a conspiracy.

They warned that such attempts and conspiracies would only provoke a revolt.

In Qasimabad taluka, the strike call was totally ignored.

A shutdown was observed in Mirpurkhas city, where markets, bazzars, shops, fuel stations and commercial concerns did not open in the first half of the day.

Reports from other parts of Sindh, including Matiari, Tando Mohammad Khan, Jamshoro, Tando Allahyar, Badin, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sanghar, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Sukkur and Khairpur, suggested that normal trade, business, commercial and educational activities remained unaffected by the strike call. No disruption in vehicular traffic on roads and highways was reported.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2016

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