KARACHI - Commercial activities in the port city came to a standstill on Wednesday as fear and tension gripped the city after the arrest of MQM chief Altaf Hussain in London on the charges of money laundering.
Petrol pumps, CNG stations, hotels, shops and markets remained closed while public transport was also remained thin.
Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI) president Arshad Bukhari has said the transporters will not bring transport on the roads. Various trade unions of Karachi have announced to close their businesses on Wednesday. Traders and transporters have declared that they would review the law and order situation of the city before making any decision whether to resume business activities and run public transport or not.
Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP), Karachi University (KU), Federal Urdu University for Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST), Jinnah University for Women have postponed all examination scheduled for Wednesday. The new schedule of the examination will be announced later.
MQM sit-in protest started on Tuesday evening which continued on the second consecutive day. MQM coordination committee vowed to continue protest unless they will hear Altaf’s voice.
Earlier, the coordination committee appealed to MQM supporters and workers to stage a sit-in to show solidarity with Altaf Hussain at Numaish Chowrangi on MA Jinnah Road. MQM workers and supporters thronged at Numaish Chowrangi and staged a sit-in with posters and banners in favour of Altaf Hussain. People from all over the city gathered at the point in scorching heat.
Meanwhile, the delegations of political parties, trade organisations, lawyers’ affinities, Christian and Hindu communities, religious leaderships and labour unionists visited Numaish Chowrangi to show solidarity with MQM chief Altaf Hussain.
PPP leader and Sindh Senior Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, while addressing to the participants, said the politicians and political leadership should maintain unity among them to continue the democratic process. He demanded that Altaf Hussain should be provided appropriate health facilities on humanitarian grounds. He said people hoped that the process of justice would appropriately be done in his case.
The delegation from PML-F led by Sindh MPA Jam Madad Ali Shah said they had deep concern over Altaf’s illness. He said the PML-F extended full support to him and his party workers during the hard times.
Siraj Kassam Telli of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said, while visiting the sit-in, it was hard time for the MQM leadership and workers. “We should pray for his good health.” All the visiting delegations reacted same sentiments.
Earlier, a PPP delegation led by provincial minister Sikander Mandhro including Rashid Rabbani, Waqar Mehdi and other workers visited the sit-in to show solidarity with Altaf Hussain and MQM.
Moreover, PPP’s Rehman Malik, APML’s Ahmed Raza Kasuri, PML-F’s Imtiaz Sheikh, Pakistan Awami Tehreek senior vice president Ali Ausat and various national leaders also visited the MQM International Secretariat to inquire after Altaf.
Online adds: MQM leader Wasay Jalil on Wednesday said that although the London police wanted to question Altaf Hussain in relation to money laundering case, he was moved to a hospital due to ill health.
Doctors would carry out a number of medical tests, said Jalil ,adding, that after those, the police was likely to decide on how to proceed.
He further said that the MQM was in cooperation with the British police as far the investigations into money laundering and Imran Farooq murder cases are concerned. Altaf’s residence in London was sealed after the British police concluded a search action on Tuesday.
The search was carried out by 40 personnel of the police, including members of the forensic team. Police moreover said the residence will be handed over to the MQM chief after he got bail.