Karachi unites to condemn the Sialkot tragedy


By Jawad Muzaffar and Suhail Yusuf / Dawn.com

A crowd of at least 500 people gathered at the Arts Council to protest against the killings of the two brothers. – Photos by Ahmed Shajee Aijazi

KARACHI: The killings of Hafiz Mughees and Muneeb, the two brothers from Sialkot, have ignited severe demonstrations around the country against the mindset that led to the incident and the incompetence of the authorities in catching the culprits.

Following protests around the country, volunteers from the Voice of the Civil Society (VOTCS) and The Arts Council Karachi staged a demonstration on August 26 outside the Arts Council building.

The protestors, a diverse crowd of at least 500 people, gathered on very short notice through coordination over Facebook and text messages. Artists, models, journalists as well as political activists were present on the occasion, carrying banners and placards which boldly stated that ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ and demanded an end to ‘local terrorism’.

Mohsin Saeed started off the proceedings and said, “I present a resolution in favour of speedy justice, rule of law, rights of minorities, prevalence of fundamental rights.” In response, all the participants raised their hands and showed their assent to the resolution.

After Saeed, Deputy Speaker Sindh Assembly Shahla Raza addressed the protestors. “I condemn the tragic incident. We have to be united against crime and cruelty. There is also an emergency situation in Thatta due to floods and around 200,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are heading towards Karachi. So I am demanding help and aid in this regard from the audience.”

After Raza’s remarks, Secretary General Arts Council Ahmed Shah spoke to the crowd and said, “Police order 2002 was deformed and then exploited in the hands of politicians. Initially, the order had a clause according to which civil society was given a role to maintain check on government machinery (Police and district management). Unfortunately, the clause was abolished and now we are facing the repercussions. The Pakistani nation is turned into a reactionary nation. We have to make a non-political and non-religious forum to overcome the injustice of our society.”

Prominent actor, Faisal Qureshi stated that “the intensity of this event is higher than the devastation caused by the flood disaster. Natural catastrophes are uncontrollable; however, the human killings are manageable. Therefore not managing the situation shows the incompetence of the administration and ignorance of the society.”

Speaking to Dawn.com, actress Saba Parvaiz said: “We need open and speedy trails. All institutes of the country have been collapsed except the Army. Punjab has turned into a police state. The DPO encouraged the murderers and said that you kill the brothers and I will turn it into a police encounter. You are young media persons please tell the nation not to take the law in their hands because it is not legal.”

Before leaving the Arts Council and walking towards the Karachi Press Club, all the participants signed a banner and registered their condemnation against the brutality along with signing a petition for speedy justice addressed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
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