Karachi: Arson acts on eve of strike sow fear
KARACHI: A man was burnt to death and four others, including a minor boy, were injured in an attack on a minibus on Friday night as violence broke out in various parts of the city ahead of Saturday’s strike called by nationalist parties in Sindh against the restoration of Musharraf-era local government system in the province.
The tragic incident took place near a post office in Keamari where a minibus carrying a moderate number of people was attacked and set on fire before passengers could get off the bus. The blaze left one man dead and four others injured.
“It was a bus of route W-11,” said an official at the Jackson police station. “It was going to Keamari and carrying more than 15 passengers. Before the passengers could understand the situation, the attackers set the bus on fire and ran away.”
The injured were taken to the Civil Hospital, where the condition of two of them was critical. The dead man could not be identified.
Other arson attacks after sunset left at least half a dozen vehicles burnt in almost every district of the city. An official at the central fire office said that at least five buses and a pickup were set on fire in Mai Kolachi, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Orangi Town and Ghaggar Phatak in Bin Qasim Town within a space of four hours.
Police launched a search operation in a residential and commercial centre in Saddar and detained a number of suspects. “We have traced the affected areas and in some cases suspects as well,” Sindh Additional IG Saud Mirza said. “We are done with our planning and will conduct raids on suspected hideouts and increase patrolling to curb the violence and assure peace on Saturday.”
According to TV channels, Karachi-based public transport operators said they had nothing to do with the strike, but added that because of fear of attacks they would keep their buses off the road on Saturday.
Our Hyderabad Correspondent adds: Incidents of firing and arson were also reported from a number of towns and cities of interior Sindh. Unidentified youths attacked vehicles, causing panic among commuters.
The Sindh Bachayo Committee said it expected a positive response to its call for strike on Saturday against the revival of the LG system.
Sindh United Party chief Syed Jalal Mehmood said the committee comprising members from all mainstream nationalist parties and civil society organisations wanted restoration of the local government system of 1979 and commissioner system.
He said he had received an encouraging response to the strike call from Jamaat-i-Islami, ANP, PML-F, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Sunni Tehrik, JUI-F and others.
“The PPP should avoid setting negative trends by trying to counter our strike and asking its workers to resist it. It may prove disastrous for the PPP itself in future,” Mr Shah, who heads the committee, said.