KARACHI - Muttahida Qaumi Movement–Pakistan (MQM-P) leaders succeeded in reaching Azizabad on Saturday after much drama to offer prayers at ‘Martyrs’ Monument- built in remembrance of party’s dead.

This was the second attempt since August 22, 2016 incident. Earlier MQM-P had made a similar attempt when Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar was released from the Karachi prison.

However, the bid failed as the MQM-London supporters not only stopped the MQM-P leaders , but due to that clash ensued between the supporters of both the groups. MQM-P convener Dr Farooq Sattar on Friday, in a video message, had announced to march to Yadgar-e-Shuhada located in Azizabad.

Sattar, in the message, had invited the party supporters to participate in the march from Ayesha Manzil to Yadgar-e-Shuhuda on November 11 to honour the party’s martyrs . Following the announcement, extra- contingents of law enforcers, particularly police, were called from different police stations of the District Central and deployed at the routes leading to the Martyrs Monument .

The main route from Ayesha Manzil to Liaquat Ali Khan Chowk was also sealed by using containers and barricades.

Apart from the paramilitary force and plainclothes personnel, around 350 cops were also on-duty to avoid any untoward incident. Sharing details of security, Azizabad SHO Jamal Leghari said that “Police is not here to stop any one, and was only following the orders of seniors to provide security to MQM-P.”

As per plan, it was decided that the party leaders would visit the monument to offer prayers along with workers. But it was changed overnight after the security authorities expressed ignorance of any permission sought by the party and apprehended that the gathering could affect the law and order situation.

Despite all such apprehensions, large numbers of MQM-P supporters reached Ayesha Manzil, and Dr Farooq Sattar, flanked by MQM-P Coordination Committee members, including Amir Khan, Faisal Sabzwari, Kamran Tessori and Aminul Haq, entered Azizabad in the form of a rally. The moment they reached Liaquat Ali Khan Chowk, formerly known as Mukka Chowk, police and the personnel of other law enforcement contingents present at the scene prevented them from marching further.

Addressing media men at Liaquat Ali Khan Chowk, Sattar said that it was awful that workers and supporters had not been allowed to visit the Martyrs’ Monument , but the party leadership is thankful to workers who reached the venue despite that fact that they had been asked not to come. “We are thankful to Allah that we have been able to make it [to the monument] after waiting for at least one year,” said MQM convener. Sattar further said “Blood of our martyrs will not go in vain and that MQM-P will continue its non-violent struggle for attaining the due rights of Mohajir community.”

He further said that the people of Karachi and workers had not only supported August 23 stance, but had also expressed their confidence in MQM-P by attending the public gathering held at Liaquatabad flyover on November 5 in large numbers. “It confirms that if there is a national political party then it is the MQM-P,” he said, and added, “MQM-P is not going anywhere. It is continuing its political journey with a slogan of discipline and symbol of Kite which has been our identity for years.”

Later, MQM-P leadership visited Yadgar-e-Shuhada and offered prayers .

Later it changed the programme at the last moment to visit martyrs’ graveyard and returned to party headquarters in Bahadurabad.