Many protesters have been released
Over 150 people whose houses were demolished during the anti-encroachment drive along Karachi’s Gujjar and Orangi nullahs were detained on Monday for staging a protest outside Bilawal House.
The protest, organised by the Karachi Bachao Tehreek, was aimed at staging a demonstration against the demolition of leased houses along the nullahs. The affectees had sought a stay order against the drive on houses that were leased out by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation. The Supreme Court, in a recent ruling, ordered the authorities to continue the drive against all encroachments and instructed the Sindh government to form a plan to compensate the affectees.
Protesters had gathered near Bilawal House but the police didn’t let them go anywhere near it, Khurram Ali, who has led all the protests against the demolition of houses built on the nullahs, told SAMAA Digital.
They were maybe tipped-off about the protest because of which they took proper action to restrict it and detained at least 150 protesters, including affectees and activists. They even stopped the buses carrying the protesters and arrested them, he added.
“Action was taken by teams of three police stations: Preedy, Clifton, and Darakhshan,” Ali said. The police even ransacked the Karachi Bachao Tehreek’s office in Kausar Niazi Colony. They seized banners and placards from the office.
Only a few protesters succeeded in reaching Bilawal House, he shared. “We, however, were worried about our arrested companions.”
Ali said that most of the protesters have been released now, but some are still missing. “We have contacted the police stations and the officials told us that all protesters have been released,” he added.
Sindh Education and Literacy Minister Saeed Ghani had, however, tweeted that no protester was arrested. “Staging protest is the constitutional right of every individual.”
Ghani remarked that the demolition operations are being carried out on the directives of the Supreme Court.
He shared that he is trying to contact the organisers of the protest as the PPP, which is governing Sindh, is in favour of peaceful protests.
KBT Chairman Ali confirmed that Ghani has contacted them and asked them to come to Sindh Assembly to hold discussions.
In March this year, the police arrested Ali after their protest in Landi Kotal against the demolition of houses along the Gujjar Nullah.