A heavy contingent of police resorted to baton charge and shelling to disperse hundreds of Pak Sarzameen Party activists on Sunday as they tried to march towards the Chief Minister House after the negotiations between PSP and the ruling PPP party ended without the parties reaching any consensus.
Police also arrested several party leaders, including PSP chairman Mustafa Kamal, Raza Haroon, Anees Qaimkhani and Dr Sagheer, besides scores of party activists. Participants of the march abandoned the road and reassembled themselves near the FTC Bridge in Karachi.
Earlier, the negotiations between leaders of PSP and PPP ended without the parties reaching any consensus, as the PSP was insistent to march towards the red zone in Karachi but the Sindh government was reluctant to let them do so.
Hundreds of PSP activists had gathered at Shahrah-e-Faisal near FTC bridge after the provincial government imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Karachi’s Red Zone on Sunday ahead of an announced march of the PSP to the Chief Minister House.
The leaders of the protesting PSP kept announcing that they will march towards the Red Zone, however, law enforcement personnel erected barricades on all roads leading to the chief minister and governor houses.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar reacted to the development and said that the Constitution ensures the provision of holding all types of political gatherings.
He condemned the use of power against protesters and said that the provincial government was showing ignorance to the issues of Karachi and resorted to torture against those demanding their rights. “Use of force against peaceful political gathering is quite illogical,” he said.
On the other hand, PPP leader Shehla Raza, talking to media, defended the provincial government’s move saying PSP workers were repeatedly asked “to refrain from entering the Red Zone as it was an illegal activity.”
She, however, said PPP believes in democratic rights of the people and works accordingly. “The protesters were initially approached to hold a dialogue regarding their demands, but when they challenged the writ of the government the due action was taken against them,” she maintained.
While responding to the statement made by the interior minister, Shehla Raza mentioned that the government only used water cannon unlike the actions of the incumbent PML-N government in Punjab.