11 Fixit, PTI supporters agitating for ‘police reforms’ detained brieflyPakistan
KARACHI: Police on Sunday resorted to tear gas shelling, aerial firing, baton charge and use of a water cannon to disperse members of the ‘social movement’ popularly known as Fixit and workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-i- Insaf, who had gathered outside the Karachi Press Club to demand what they called police reforms. At least 11 of the protesters were detained, according to officials and witnesses.
The incident triggered a protest and sit-in by PTI workers led by the party’s central leader and MNA Dr Arif Alvi outside Governor House to demand the activists’ release.
Several persons led by Fixit founder Alamgir Khan appeared outside the Karachi Press Club.
Wearing T-shirt inscribed with ‘Fixit’, they chanted slogans against ‘Policegardi’ (police injustices) and demanded an end to political interference in the police. They also raised slogans over the removal of Sindh police inspector general A.D. Khowaja.
One of the protests told Dawn that they had gathered to raise their voice over ‘multiple issues’ such as police reforms, removal of the IGP and the filthy civic conditions in the metropolis.
Chanting slogans, as over two dozen protesters tried to move to hold a ‘peaceful demonstration’ outside Chief Minister House, a contingent of police already deployed there resorted to tear gas shelling, aerial firing, baton charge and use of a water cannon to disperse them.
The PTI Karachi spokesperson told Dawn that their party’s vice president in the city, Raja Azhar, was injured in the tear-gas shelling.
The police detained 11 persons, including Alamgir Khan, said Karachi south zone DIG Azad Khan. He said they were arrested over violation of Section 144 as they planned to protest in the Red Zone.
Azad Khan said the police told the protesters to restrict their protest to the KPC vicinity, but they did not pay any heed to the police’s advice.
“The protesters compelled the police to take action to disperse them as they were moving towards the Red Zone,” said the DIG-South.
Contingents of police were already deployed at the PIDC traffic intersection near Chief Minister House. A stretch of Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road leading to it was closed to public traffic.
Soon after the arrest of Fixit founder Alamgir and ‘some PTI workers’, over 200 workers and leaders of the PTI led by MNA Dr Arif Alvi and PTI Karachi president Firdous Shamim Naqvi converged outside Governor House. They staged a sit-in there to demand immediate release of the party workers.
Talking to the media on the occasion, Dr Arif Alvi said: “We do not trust a system which provides protocol to Dr Asim Hussain and Sharjeel Memon, accused of looting billions of rupees, but allows detention of Alamgir Khan and PTI workers.”
The PTI central leader said their party workers were arrested for raising their voice against the removal of IGP A.D. Khowaja, who had a ‘good reputation’.
Dr Alvi alleged that “the PPP-led government was appointing ‘corrupt officers’ to ‘cover up’ the alleged corruption of the party leaders.”
They dispersed peacefully after successful talks with representative of the provincial government and the police.
Later on, all the 11 persons were released, said the DIG.
Meanwhile, Fixit in a statement said that they had planned to hold a ‘peaceful protest demonstration against Policegardi.’ They claimed that they wanted a “peaceful walk to push the government for reforms in the Sindh police”.
“The biggest problem of the common man is the attitude of policemen as people feel insecure in a police station. We want a police system that is not influenced politically.”
Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2017