KARACHI -  Police took senior Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) leaders, who intended to protest outside the CM House on Sunday, into custody.

PSP leaders, including Chairman Mustafa Kamal, Raza Haroon and Dr Sagheer and dozens of workers were taken into custody. The arrests were made after negotiations between the party and the Sindh government failed.

As the PSP leaders and workers began marching towards the CM House, heavy contingent of police started teargas shelling and also used water cannons to disperse them.

Many participants of the rally vanished following police sprang into action while dozens of marchers were taken into custody.

Later police rushed to Shahrah-e-Faisal where PSP had planned to stage a sit-in and arrested some of the party leaders and shifted them to different police stations.

Earlier, police stopped the rally when it reached near Aisha Bawani School.

On this occasion, talks between PSP and PPP’s Sindh government were held.

The four-member PPP delegation included Murtaza Wahab, Rashid Rabbani and Waqar Mehdi and was led by Sindh Health Minister Dr Sikandar Ali Mandhro. However, the parties failed to achieve the breakthrough.

The marchers were scheduled to start from FTC building at Shahrah-e-Faisal and then march towards the Chief Minister’s House to protest for the fulfillment of their 16 demands related to the problems being faced by citizens of Karachi.

The Sindh government had imposed Section 144 to prevent PSP supporters from entering Karachi’s Red Zone.

It is pertinent to mention here that Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) prohibits the assembly of more than four people in an area.

Numbers of workers and supporters of PSP gathered outside the FTC building at Shahrah-e-Faisal to protest against the ‘poor governance’ of the PPP government in Sindh.

They were carrying party flags, placards and banners in their hands, inscribed with various slogans.

Pakistan Sunni Tehreek (PST) leader Shahid Ghouri also reached at the site of the rally to express solidarity with the PSP leadership.

Talking to the media men, Ghouri said that issues of the city were increasing day by day as the provincial government had failed to deliver.

“PPP has always treated Karachi like a stepmother treats her child,” he said, and added, “PST supports PSP`s movement initiated to get due rights of the citizens and today we are here at the rally to express solidarity with Mustafa Kamal.”

Speaking on the occasion, Anis Qaimkhani thanked the PST leader for supporting the party’s campaign against the Sindh government.

He said that the PSP was not on the roads to get any benefits or point scoring. “But the purpose of our protests is to resolve the problems being faced by the Karachiites for the last nine years,” he clarified.

He said there was no 'Red Zone' for the public. “We will come out on the streets for the sake of our children's future no matter what happens,” Qaimkhani, who is president of the PSP, said and told media men that the party had obtained permission for the rally.

Despite campaigning for the last two weeks, PSP leadership failed to gather one million in its “Million March” against the Sindh government as the attendance remained confined to few hundreds.

PSP has termed the march as the second phase of its drive, which it has launched to address the issues of citizens of Karachi.

Earlier the PSP, in the first phase of its drive for the fulfillment of its 16 demands that include return of administrative and financial powers to the mayor and local bodies and better sanitation, communication, recreational, health, education, power and water services for the residents of the city, had set up a protest camp outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on April 6, 2017, and remained at the site for about eighteen days.

Earlier, Kamal, during a press conference, had said that the provincial government did contact the PSP leadership twice and agreed to review eight demands, but the party leadership stuck to its 16 demands and decided to carry on its drive.

PSP Chairman Mustafa Kamal also held meeting with various political parties leaders for the success Million March mainly Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamaat Ahle-Sunnat, Pakistan Sunni Tehreek, Ahle-Sunnat Wal Jamaat, religious scholar Mufti Naeem,  Allama Talib Joheri, and others with an initiation to attend and support the PSP`s Million March. Kamal also extended an invitation to Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) to attend party rally against the ruling government. But on the rally day only PST leader reached the site to support Pak Sarzameen Party.

 

 

Farraz Israr