KARACHI - On the call of nationalist parties, a wheel-jam and shutterdown strike was observed across Sindh against the 20th constitutional amendment moved by the MQM in the national assembly for creation of new provinces.

Protest demonstrations were held in almost all the cities of Sindh while roads and businesses centres were closed. There were reports of some violent incidents and aerial firing in various cities which created fear among the citizens. Several people were injured and two buses were set on fire in Qasim Park area while

Cities most affected by strike included Sukkur, Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Sakrand, Dolat Pur, Umer Kot Feroz, Dharki, Ghotki, Kashmore, Dadu, Khairpur, Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Badin, and Thatta. Public transport was not available at highways, intercity roads while attendance at government offices and schools was also reported thin due to absence of public transport which created troubles for the commuters.

In Hyderabad, Awami Tehreek and Sindhyani Tehreek took out a rally from Hyder Chowk to SP Chowk, during which the protesters clashed with the police, and a sit-in was also staged at Ponam Petrol Pump. Rangers were also deployed along with the police to ensure security in the city during protests. All shops were closed in Sukkur as well. But the situation seemed relatively normal in Karachi as businesses remained open in most areas.

Almost every civil society organisation, professional body, women rights activist, and writers backed the strike call given by the Save Sindh Committee (an alliance of five Sindhi nationalist groups).  During a protest Jeay Sindh Tehreek Chairman Dr Safdar Sarki said: “The bill tabled by the MQM discloses its intention. If they (MQM) think themselves as genuine Sindhis, they should act and fight for the province where they live.”

The MQM recently submitted the 20th amendment resolution in the national assembly which facilitates the creation of new provinces and seek abrogation of article 2-3-9 (Clause 4).

The Sindhi nationalists have vehemently opposed this resolution saying that it would give the federal government the power to alter the limits of provinces without consulting the province in question.