Power riots subside, except in two small towns
TOBA TEK SINGH: A boy was killed and 18 people were injured when guards of MNA Riaz Fatyana of the PML-Q opened fire on a mob attacking his house in Kamalia on Tuesday. In other parts of the town, at least 32 people were injured in clashes between police and large crowds protesting against power outages and prolonged loadshedding.
Police later arrested MNA Fatyana and his eight gunmen who had opened fire on protesters.The intensity of protests which had engulfed almost the entire province over the past few days declined on Tuesday and except Toba Tek Singh and Khanewal, most other cities and towns remained largely peaceful.
T. T. Singh DPO Ahsan Younis also suffered a minor bullet injury and rioters assaulted DSP Akbar Niazi and SHOs of Rajana and Kamalia police stations.
They set five police vehicles and some vehicles of MNA Fatyana on fire.
Regional Police Officer Aftab Cheema said at a press conference that Mr Fatyana and his eight guards had been charged with murder.
Mr Cheema confirmed that a boy had been killed and said that 34 people had been injured.
But newsmen based in Kamalia put the death toll at two, saying that one of the injured had died in a hospital in Faisalabad.
The protests against the power outages had been called by the Kamalia traders’ association.
Thousands of protesters marched on different roads and reached the house of MNA Begum Beelum Husnain of the PPP and attacked it. Her gunmen fired in the air and the protesters dispersed. Then they moved to Mr Fatyana’s house and attacked it. His guards opened fire, killing the 14 year-old-boy, Murtish.
People overpowered one of the guards and thrashed him. He was seriously injured and admitted to the Kamalia THQ Hospital in a critical condition.
According to officials, 17 of the injured were admitted to the Kamalia tehsil headquarters hospital and nine others, including a private TV channel reporter Rana Tajammal Hussain, were taken to the DHQ hospital.
Five vehicles of police and eight motorcycles were torched and eight vehicles and a portion of Fatyana’s house were destroyed.
Heavy police contingents were called from all police stations in the district to bring the situation under control.
Because of the riots, traffic remained suspended for more than five hours on the Kamalia-Chichawatni, Kamalia-Mamonkanjun, Kamalia-Toba and various link roads.
Mr Fatyana told reporters before his arrest that his house had been attacked by PML-N activists. He also suspected the involvement of some religious groups. He said a man wearing helmet fired at his house.
The mob also damaged a grid station and general bus stand and 15 shops in Kamalia.
Meanwhile, protests continued for the second day in Khanewal and demonstrators attacked the General Post Office, TMA office, Mepco office and three banks and the residence of Prime Minister’s adviser Ahmed Yar Hiraj.
The protesters gathered near the vegetable market for the funeral prayers of Azhar Qureshi who died on Monday when guards of Mr Hiraj opened fire on a mob attacking his house.
After the funeral, protesters gathered outside the City Police Station to get four demonstrators released. They pelted policemen deployed there with stones and police fired teargas shells.
Protesters then attacked the TMA office, torched a vehicle and the office record. The mob again moved to the house of Mr Hiraj. But police used teargas to keep them away.
Another group attacked three banks on the Jamia Masjid Road in Khanewal and damaged furniture and record.
The protesters torched the motorbike of a policeman and looted furniture, computers and other equipment from banks and the TMA office.