KARACHI: Violent protesters attacked an ARY News office in the Saddar area of the metropolis on Monday evening, which resulted in clash between police and the angry mob — killing one person and injuring several others.
Police later confirmed that “MQM workers pelted stones at police officials and the ARY office”, adding that they also resorted to aerial firing outside the office.
Head of Emergency at Jinnah Post-Graduate Medical Centre (JPMC) Dr Seemin Jamali said, “At least one person was brought dead [to JPMC] while several others were injured.” Dr Jamali later identified the deceased as Arif Saeed.
The ARY office is located in a busy part of the metropolis above the popular Zainab Market. Traffic came to a standstill due to the violent protests and all roads leading towards Governor House were sealed.
Massive traffic jams caused a slowdown on connecting roads including I.I. Chundrigar Road and Club Road.
ARY News has alleged that the protesters were members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). The TV channel further reported that the protesters entered the building and attacked the staff.
According to TV channels, MQM chief Altaf Hussain in his speech earlier today told protesters “to storm the offices of TV channels”.
Senior ARY anchor Kashif Abbasi said, “They are Muttahida people. He (Altaf) ordered them to do it and within 10 minutes all this happened.”
A Samaa DSNG van was also attacked. Additionally, a police van and motorcycle of a traffic police official were reportedly set on fire.
Eyewitnesses at the Karachi Press Club said Rangers men with their faces covered ransacked the MQM camp in the area and arrested workers of the political party.
Alluding to a conspiracy against the MQM, MNA Syed Ali Raza Abidi tweeted, “MQM has been protesting since past 3 years non-violently. Regretfully masked men pre-present at Fawara Chawk created these deplorable scenes.”
In a second tweet, Abidi said: “Disassociate yourself from violent mobs sent for a purpose!”
People were protesting peacefully at ARY office against biased media coverage when suddenly police started firing on peaceful protestors, claimed MQM leader Wasay Jalil.
Police resorted to shelling to disperse the angry mob and fired rubber bullets, injuring the protestors, DawnNews reported.
Meanwhile, Pak Sarzameen Party’s chief Mustafa Kamal, while addressing a press conference, said “whatever we had been saying has been proven right”.
“The MQM chief has been creating a law and order situation in the metropolis by taking funding from Indian intelligence agency RAW,” he claimed.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the attack on the offices of private news channels in Karachi, and termed it “an attack on freedom of Press and expression”.
Nawaz directed the concerned authorities at the federal and provincial levels to immediately bring the culprits to task and ensure the safety of the civilians in general and journalist fraternity in particular.
Director General Sindh Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar, while issuing statement following the incident, guaranteed protection to the citizens.
“The attackers will be made to pay for their wrong deeds,” he said, adding, that no one is allowed to carry out violent protests.
Meanwhile, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif telephoned DG Rangers Sindh and asked him to expedite action against the culprits behind today’s incident, DawnNews reported.
A Sindh Police spokesman said that “Sindh IG has taken notice of violent attacks and firing at ARY News office”.
The IG also ordered that security at media offices across the city should be increased while sealing the red zone.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also took notice of the attack.