Clashes over anti-encroachment drive

1,000 booked on terrorism charges in Karachi

Statesman Report

Karachi: Police registered a case against nearly 1,000 residents of Manzoor Colony and Mehmoodabad for staging a violent protest and attacking law enforcers in a bid to stop an anti-encroachment drive along the Mehmoodabad nullah.

The FIR was registered at the Baloch Colony police station under the following sections of the Pakistan Penal Code:

147 - punishment for rioting

148 - rioting armed with deadly weapon

149- unlawful assembly

186 - obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions

341 - wrongful restraint

427 - mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees

Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which describes the punishment for acts of terrorism, was also included in the FIR.

City warden Nadir Khan, who was injured in the protest, registered the case.

The police said the case was registered against 800 to 1,000 unidentified residents of the area. No arrest has been reported yet.

The anti-encroachment drive has now been postponed indefinitely.

Police said protesters took over the Manzoor Colony fire station and captured several vehicles and trucks of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation.

The vehicles were later surrendered to the police after negotiations.

Around 850 houses were to be demolished by the KMC in a major operation to clear the nullah of encroachments. Police and other law enforcement officials had been called in because of the threat of violence.

The National Disaster Management Authority and the District East administration were also on board for the operation and the area from KMC’s Manzoor Colony Fire Station to Korangi Road was to be cleared of encroachments.

KMC Senior Director Anti-Encroachment Bashir Siddiqui said that after the violence started, two of their staffers were badly injured. The operation was then stopped.

Siddiqui said KMC vehicles were also damaged in the protest and staffers held hostage.

When the KMC’s anti-encroachment teams reached Manzoor Colony, the residents pelted them with stones and shouted slogans against the municipal body.

Traffic was suspended on the Korangi Expressway and Shaheed-e-Millat Road which led to a major traffic jam.

But residents have another story to tell.

They said the police attacked the "peaceful protesters", following which violence erupted.