Security personnel clashed with protesting Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) employees at Jinnah Terminal of the Karachi Airport today. Security officials used baton-charging and fired rubber bullets and tear gas shells on the PIA protestors . The clash came after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s announcement of the Essential Services Act.

According to reports two protesters have been killed during the protests. The victims are believed to have been shot dead. Rangers and police deny firing at the protestors.

Security forces clashed with protestors outside Sindh Assembly as well. “Police showered the protestors with rubber bullets and Water canon outside the Sindh Assembly building" eye witnesses told Waqt News. The protestors had tried to move towards the Sindh Assembly when police tried to stop them which ended in clash between both sides, reports added.

A 55-year-old PIA employee Anayatullah has died after being shot in the stomach by police, sources said. Several other workers are believed to be in critical condition after being shifted to local hospitals. The injured include many journalists.

According to sources numerous PIA workers have also been arrested by police. Many protesters have also got injured during the arrests. The protesters have torn up the posters of PM Nawaz Sharif in different cities.

Protests by PIA employees are also been conducted in Peshawar and Multan. “The protestors in these cities are also being tortured and beaten up by the police,” PIA sources claimed.

Meanwhile the DIG East Karachi Kamran Afzal said no policeman fired directly at the protestors. “We have gathered the samples of bullets and we will investigate the matter,” he said. “The fired bullet is from small weapons while police have large weapons. We have information that people inside the protesters also have weapons,” he claimed. “We have been ordered to handle the protesters peacefully.”

Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed said it seems as if PIA employees want to leave their jobs. “We have backup plan, so the protesters should abandon their protest and start working immediately,” he said.

The PIA spokesperson Daniyal Gellani told Waqt News that the flight operation is being carried on normally. “We have asked the protesters to come to the negotiation table, but they stuck to their hard stance and refused to talk,” he said.

The Sindh Rangers spokesperson said that no Rangers personnel fired towards the protesters.

Meanwhile, the Chairman Joint Action Committee Captain Sohail Baloch said two workers have been killed. “One is Anayatullah and the other is Qadri. Our 15 to 20 workers are injured and admitted in hospital,” he said.

While talking to the media he said that Rangers shot straight towards the protestors. “We were peaceful and did not use any objectionable slogans. But still we were tortured,” he said. “Rangers were wearing black masks when they fired at our workers”.

The advocate of the PIA workers told the media that a case will be submitted against the killers after investigations. “PIA workers are 11% shareholders in the organization and without their consent PIA cannot be privatized,” he said.

Meanwhile, flight operation at Peshawar Airport was halted following the news of the clashes. The protesters locked the offices and claimed that no flight will be flown from the Bacha Khan Airport, reports revealed. The flight operations are being continued normally at other airports around the country.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned ‘firing’ on protesting Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) workers in Karachi. Asif Ali Zardari, in a statement, demanded judicial investigation into the incident.

PPP co-chairman Bilawal, in a separate message, condemned the use of force against the protesting PIA employees and asked the government to desist from adopting dictatorial tactics to silence democratic rights of protesters.

Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah also condemned the use of force against protesting PIA workers in Karachi. PPP leader said that torture on protesters reminded brutality of dictators.

He said that enforcement of the Essential Services (Maintenance) Act 1952 for six months to bar protesting members of the Pakistan International Airlines from participating in any union activity was an act of dictators and no civilian government ever imposed this act. “Everyone has a right to express their opinion.

PM has stated that the government will reward PIA workers who come to work. “Politics is being played in PIA and strike is not fair with Pakistan,” he said. “Passengers are facing hard times because of the strike."

While talking to the media PM said that the workers on strike will be put into jail. “PIA is facing Rs100 million loss daily due to the workers’ protest".

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah has announced Rs2 million for dead PIA workers’ families. “Sindh government will bear the cost of cure of injured”