Two cops among 17 killed in Karachi
KARACHI, Sept 21: At least 17 people, including two policemen, were killed in sporadic acts of violence during rallies taken out by different religious organisations in protest against the anti-Islam film on Friday. Over 100 people, 12 policemen among them, were injured.
Five cinema houses, three police mobiles, three banks and a number of shops were set on fire and looted by the protesters. Two police stations were also attacked by the violent mob.
Most of the violence took place on M.A. Jinnah Road, Merewether Tower and PIDC as the protesters fought pitched battles with police. A heavy exchange of fire took place near Tower where police had placed containers to block access to Jinnah Bridge.
Initially police fired teargas shells at the protesters, but when the situation worsened they resorted to firing. The mob wanted to march towards the US consulate from Jinnah Bridge to register their protest.
The Tower showdown between police and protesters left a policeman dead and five others wounded. Four protesters suffered fatal gunshot wounds.
“Six bodies, including that of a policeman, and 40 wounded have been brought to Civil Hospital. A wounded policeman died during treatment,” a medico legal officer at the hospital said. The crowd turned hostile at the emergency ward when a power failure hit the hospital. They ransacked the ward and took away an AC and a computer.
“Six men were brought dead in Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and one died during treatment,” Dr Seemi Jamali, in-charge of the hospital’s emergency ward, said, adding: “We have treated 83 gunshot victims brought from different areas of the city.”
Ten injured were taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
The protesters resorted to violence at emergency wards of both the hospitals.
Four cinema houses — Nishat, Prince, Capri and Bambino — were set on fire when protest rallies were passing through M.A.
Jinnah Road on their way to the US consulate. Gulistan Cinema was torched in Quaidabad. The DC Office, Malir, was also set on fire.
“Two of our fire tenders were attacked by the protesters. Five firemen were wounded at Tibet Centre when we tried to reach the cinema houses,” said an officer at the central fire station. “We received complaints about fire in cinema houses, cars and banks, but our vehicles were not able to reach the place because of the volatile situation”. The protesters acted with impunity at the PIDC intersection for a few hours, setting fire to a bank and ransacking almost all banks located on the stretch of the road described by police as the ‘red zone’. The shops located adjacent to PIDC building were also damaged and looted by the protesters.
The NIB Bank was set on fire at PICD, while UBL, MCB Bank and National Bank were ransacked and looted by the protesters.
They ransacked ATM machines of the banks at PIDC and tried to snatch cash out of them.
Another bank was ransacked in Tower area.
A traffic police post at PIDC was set on fire. The protesters also ransacked front shops at Sheraton Hotel and an international fast food chain outlet in the PIDC House, taking away their furniture.
At least three police mobiles were set on fire near the Chief Minister House.
“We don’t have ammunition to use against the protesters”, said a policeman who was hiding behind a container.
Although the SSP and DC South were seen patrolling the areas around the Karachi Press Club, along with their big escorts, but none of them reached the PIDC when the loot and arson attacks were taking place.
A number of policemen were injured when the protesters attacked two police stations near Keamari and Manghopir. There were reports that the protesters snatched some arms from the policemen. One of the wounded policemen, identified as sub-inspector Illyas, later died in hospital.
According to sources, an ammunition shop and an FC post were set on fire in Kharadar.