Urdu-speakers ‘barred’ from attending MQM solidarity convention | Pakistan Today

Urdu-speakers ‘barred’ from attending MQM solidarity convention

KARACHI – Urdu-speaking people were barred from attending the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s National Solidarity Public Meeting on Sunday, and as per party orders, none were allowed inside the Jinnah Ground. MQM chief Altaf Hussain had prohibited the participation of the Urdu-speaking population of the metropolis – ostensibly to promote an impression of the MQM being a pan-nation party.
Urdu-speaking worker and supporters were advised by the party hierarchy, as per Hussain’s orders, to stay home. Despite the Urdu speakers being asked to stay away, the Jinnah Ground attracted a wide audience. Fears of a terrorist attack at the convention were aplenty; the event went ahead after the venue was vetted and cleared by the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS).
The areas surrounding MQM headquarters Nine-Zero were sealed off while shops and markets were also closed for participants’ security. Participants began reaching the Jinnah Ground in small and medium-sized processions and groups. Most came on cars and buses, but youngsters – about 60 percent of the total audience – had the silencers of their motorcycles removed, and benefited from the relaxation of the ban on pillion riding.
A number of traffic gridlocks were witnessed near the Jinnah Ground, and roads leading up to the venue: Mukka Chowk, Ayesha Manzil, Hussainabad and other arteries were clogged, while traffic was subsequently diverted to other roads. An MQM procession passing through Massan Chowk, Lyari was attacked by unidentified men, however, since they claimed that the MQM contingent was making an “unnecessary” hue and cry in their area. Three MQM activists were wounded after being beaten up with bamboo and hockey sticks, as well as steel rods; the injured were shifted to the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) for treatment.
Participants of the procession responded to their thrashing by setting six motorcycles on fire and blocking the road. Later, a police contingent reached the spot to ensure the rally’s safe passage through the area. Preparations for the public meeting were in full flow on Saturday night. Thousands of MQM workers and supporters had established their camps in every town of the city and at various intersections, under the supervision of Muttahida Organizing Committee (MOC), a wing of non-Urdu speaking MQM workers.
Many youngsters danced inside and outside these camps, and on numerous occasions, on the main roads where these camps had been erected. Traffic gridlocks were reported from many areas, including the Allah Wali Chowrangi that connects Tariq Road and Shahrah-e-Quaideen. Smaller pre-even processions were also reported from may parts of the city, and so were other gridlocks.

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