KARACHI: Tensions griped the city on Sunday when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers clashed with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) supporters during a protest by former against closure of roads leading to Bilawal House, the private residence of former president Asif Ali Zardari.
According to reports, clashes erupted when baton-wielding PTI protesters attacked a group of PPP workers who had assembled outside Bilawal House to guard the property against a feared attack by activists of Imran Khan’s party.
PTI workers have subjected PPP women activists and children to torture, PPP Patron-in-Chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari claimed on the social media following the stand-off in Clifton area of Karachi.
Several political activists were injured when police resorted to baton charge to disperse the angry mobs.
Condemning the chaos, the PPP warned PTI against ‘politicking’ on Bilawal House.
The PPP’s Sharmila Farooqui and Abdul Qadir Patel, who were at the site of clash, labelled the protest as PTI’s attempt to gain “political mileage”.
Sharmila, who is also adviser to Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, said that PPP workers know how to protect their leaders.
Calling the protest by PTI an “unethical” move, Sindh Information Minister Sharjee
Inam Memon said that the road leading to Bilawal House had been closed for security concerns.
In a statement, he said that a wrong political culture was being introduced by the PTI.
The PPP leaders also blamed PTI MNA Arif Alvi, who led the PTI protesters, for instigating violence in the city.
Deputy Commissioner South Mustafa Jamal Qazi said he had requested Arif Alvi not to politicise the issue and requested him to hold a “brief peaceful protest”. However, he made it clear that those who were responsible for unrest would be dealt with sternly. The PTI protest came just days after Bilawal Bhutto Zardari criticised Imran Khan and his party during a public gathering in Garhi Khuda Bukhsh town.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has ordered release of all political workers who were arrested on Sunday.
The chief minister issued a statement, terming such protests “counterproductive for democracy”. He said that it is time that all political parties play their role for the stability of democracy and promote a civilised political culture. He said it is responsibility of political leaders to make efforts for promoting tolerance and reconciliation in the country. Under the same spirit, he said, he had ordered the release of all the protesting political workers.
The chief minister expressed hope that his gesture would be welcomed and an environment of peace and brotherhood would be maintained in Karachi and rest of the province.
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