KARACHI (June 6, 2021): Violence erupted during Sit-in against Bahria Town as a result of which several building and vehicles were set ablaze during a protest against the alleged demolition of local goths by giant estate company Bahria Town.
Police resorted to tear aerial firing, gas shelling to disperse the protesters. Around one dozen arrests were also reported.
The main gate of Bahria Town was completely destroyed.
Bahria Town administration faced the largest protest since it establishment in Karachi, which was attended by political activists, as writers, poets and intellectuals across Sindh.
On the call of Sindh Action Committee and Indigenous Rights Alliance the protest was held at Bahria Town main gate on Super Highway
Sindh nationalist parties, labour and farmers’ organizations and victims of the land occupations participated in the protest.
The protesters staged a sit-in on the Super Highway, disrupting traffic.
Later, Chairman Sindh Tarqi Passand Party Dr Qadir Magsi spoke to police officials and told them that if the protesters were allowed to sit in front of the gate, they would open the Super Highway, after which they were allowed to observe sit in at main gate.
During the sit-in Bahria Town, some unidentified persons entered the main gate of Bahria Town and started vandalizing it. At this stage it was announced from the main platform that the miscreants did not belong to them and the police may take them into custody. ‘
The protesters after setting on fire the barricades, reached the vehicles and motorcycles parked out side buildings within the premises of Bahria Town. Smoke was also seen rising from at least two buildings inside Bahria Town during the commotion.
On this vandalism, the police resorted to aerial firing and tear gas shelling to disperse protesters.
Sindh United Party chief Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah told media persons that the rioters did not belong to the Sindh Action Committee. Action Committee people are peaceful people and believe in peaceful protests.”
“Some elements have taken this step to discredit the peaceful protest,” he said.
The Sindh Action Committee had announced a sit-in for eight hours in front of the main gate of Bahria Town on the Super Highway on Sunday in which other political parties and regional organizations lend their support.
Earlier, to control this protest, the police also set up the checkpoints, while organizations engaged in organizing protests accused that police stopped protesters coming to join the main sit-in. However, Sindh government denied the allegation of organisers.
Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Shah said, “If the government had created hurdles, how could these nationalist friends have reached here.
“Nationalists, JUI and civil society are peaceful people, but let no miscreants take advantage of this situation,” he said. Hence security arrangements have been made.
Last month clashes broke out between the Bahria Town administration and the local villagers, after which the Karachi police had registered a case against the Bahria Town security in-charge and other officials while one SHO was suspended.
Bahria Town had stated that “local influential politicians and the land mafia together” are blackmailing them “for political and financial interests”.
The sit-in was attended by Sindh United Party, Sindh Tarqi Passan Party, Ayaz Latif Palejo’s Qaumi Awami Tehreek, Jeay Sindh Mahaz (Junejo) Awami Workers Party, Awami Jamhoori Party and Sindh Resistance Movement, Sindh Hari Committee, Indigenous Rights Alliance and other parties.
Sindh United Party chief Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah told reporters that he wanted the Bahria Town administration to stop occupying local goths and surrounding lands and to take over the land allotted to it by the Supreme Court. The rest of his actions are illegal and unconstitutional in which the PPP government is helping him.
It may be recalled that in May 2021, the administration of Bahria Town along with heavy machinery had tried to demolish Gabol Goth and other settlements which was resisted by the locals and during this time videos of firing went viral on social media.
Eye witnesses said, as leaders’ speeches were continuing, some unidentified persons barged into the Bharia Town. Thye aslo broke the glasses of some office.
During the sit-in, the leaders repeatedly announced that the violence had taken place inside Bahria Town by some unknown persons, not from the activists of the participant parties.
In response, intense shelling started by police personnel inside the town, hence the sit-in was dispersed.
The leaders on the stage were taken to a safe place.
The Sindh Action Committee disowned the fire and vandalism incidents and said that these were conspiracy to defame the movement.
Sindh Government’s version
Responding to a question about nationalist protests against Bahrain Town, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah at a press conference said that peaceful protest is the right of all, but he just wants the main highway not closed during the protest.
After taking notice from Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, all the officers were removed, against whom the residents of the Goths near Bahria Town had complained.
Even then elected members of the Pakistan Peoples Party stand with the people of the aforesaid villages.
Nasir Shah’s tweet
Late evening Sindh information minister Syed Nasir Shah tweeted that ” We believe everyone has a right to protest. Everyone has the right to do business. No one has the right to disturb the system. We support peaceful protest we condemn violent riots.’