Pakistani protesters launch deadly attack TV station in Karachi

August 22, 2016 9:00 pm

Pakistani policemen chase activists from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) politicial party during a clash in Karachi on August 22, 2016. (AFP photo) Activists of a key political party clashed with police and ransacked a private television station in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi on August 22, leaving at least one man dead and seven others injured. / AFP / STR

At least one person has been killed and several others wounded after supporters of a key political party clashed with police and ransacked a private television station in the southern port city of Karachi.
According to police and witnesses, the casualties were caused after workers of influential Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party, which dominates politics in Karachi, clashed with police and attacked the ARY station in Saddar area of the volatile city on Monday evening. 
The fierce clashes sparked volleys of gunshots and tear gas in the violence-plagued city.
Saqib Ismail, a senior police officer said security forces used tear gas to disperse angry protesters. “We have carried out teargas shelling to disperse the mob, who was trying to attack a television office.”
Television footage showed dozens of protesters barging into ARY’s office, smashing doors, windows and equipment with rods and batons and setting fire to several vehicles.
Dr Seemi Jamali, the director at a state-run hospital confirmed that one unidentified man was killed and at least seven others injured two with gunshot wounds. “One was brought (to the hospital) dead, who was shot with a gun.”
She added that three of the injured belonged to media organizations.
The violence erupted soon after the influential MQM exiled chief, Altaf Hussain, addressed the party’s workers by phone from self-imposed exile in London. He castigated the media for not giving enough  coverage to a week-long hunger strike by MQM activists against a government crackdown. 

Pakistani paramilitary forces stand over a demolished hunger strike camp of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) political party following a clash with police in Karachi on August 22, 2016. (AFP photo)

The MQM has been accused of using extortion and murder to cement its grip on power. MQM has blamed security forces for targeting and arresting its workers during an ongoing  “clean-up” operation across the troubled city.   
Karachi is home to numerous ethnic groups and has been hit by clashes between rival ethnic and political factions in the past two and a half decades. Sectarian, political and ethnic violence in Karachi has claimed the lives of hundreds of people over that time.
Pakistani security forces have been engaged a massive anti-militant and operations in Karachi and come under attack by militants frequently. The Pakistani paramilitary troops have launched a crackdown on al-Qaeda militants in Karachi since September 2013. The attacks are usually blamed on militants linked to the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan and also to al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.
In June 2014, a deadly raid on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi ended the government’s faltering peace talks with pro-Taliban militants. Since then, Islamabad has been engaged in a major offensive against militant hideouts.
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