KARACHI - A meeting of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) council turned into a battleground over demolition of a mosque at Hill Park.

The fight was witnessed during the city council meeting when members of Jamaat-e-Islami tried to present a resolution to condemn demolition of the mosque at Hill Park by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar did not respond and asked the house to let him clarify the issue. As the Jamaat-e-Islami and other opposition members approached the mayor’s podium, a fight erupted after exchange of words between members of the ruling party and opposition. During the violent fight, members from both sides were seen kicking, punching and slapping each other.

The parliamentary leader of Jamaat-e-Islami alleged that the mosque was demolished with the approval of the city mayor and demanded that the officials responsible for razing the mosque during the KMC’s anti-encroachment drive should be punished.

The members of opposition parties chanted slogan against the ruling party and called for the mayor to be hanged.

Later, Mayor Wasim Akhtar adjourned the council session for an indefinite period. The JI members restarted their protest outside the mayor’s office after adjournment of the council session.

Akhtar told the media at his office that a “thunder squad of terrorists” entered the council hall on behalf of the Jamaat-e-Islami during the protest and marched towards his podium to attack him. He said their way was blocked by MQM members. He said they will look at the footage and identify the people involved in the fight. There will be an inquiry to find out how non-members entered the council, said the mayor.

However, the general meeting of the council of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation was passed with a majority vote through a resolution. The mayor was thanked for restoring the aforementioned mosque and announcing action against officials responsible for the incident. The resolution was tabled by a member of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam through which the house was informed that the mayor on Thursday went to Hill Park and issued orders for restoration of the mosque to even better condition. He said that action will be taken against the officials responsible for demolition of the mosque.

Akhtar said that action against encroachments in the city was taken on the directives of the Supreme Court and such constructions at Hill Park were removed. However, debris of other structures fell on the mosque during demolition of illegal structures.

The house also gave approval for 15 other resolutions and the mayor congratulated the newly-elected members of the council and introduced them to house.

Metropolitan Commissioner Dr Syed Saif-ur-Rehman was also present in the meeting.

The resolutions, which were passed by majority vote, included approval for the biggest bid of the auction of entry fee, reptile house fee and jumping castle fee at Karachi Zoo, entry fee and parking fee and supply of food to animals at the Safari Park, Karachi Zoo and Landhi Korangi Zoo, supply of fire brigade uniforms and other items, cleaning of KMC Head Office, provision of different items for programmes arranged by the Media Management Department, approval for agreement for repair of machinery and vehicles of Machine Pool Depot and change of name of Nazeer Hussain Memorial Kidney Centre to Karachi Institute of Kidney Diseases.

During the proceedings, members who expressed their point of view were parliamentary leader Aslam Shah Afridi, Akbar Shah Hashmi, Karamullah Waqasi and Junaid Mukati.