Posts Tagged ‘Lyari’

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By Zia Ur Rehman

March 9, 2016

http://thenews.com.pk/print/103984-P

Incapable of maintaining their hegemony following the Rangers-led operation, gangsters now targeting area’s political and social activists

Karachi: With nominal peace having been restored in Lyari following the Rangers-led operation against warring gangs, otherwise operating with impunity, residents of the area were, however, still wary of incidents of targeted killing of political and civil society activists and the government’s failure to apprehend the killers.

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Mir Ishtiaq Baloch, a local leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was gunned down by unidentified men on January 17 outside his office located at Ahmed Shah Bukhari road in Lyari – lying within the jurisdiction of the Baghdadi police station.

The 32-year-old was popularly known as Mullah Pappu in the area and had contested local bodies’ poll for the post of chairman from UC-8 on the PML-N’s ticket; he, however, lost by only 40 votes.

He was the younger brother of a central leader of the PML-N, Mir Ashfaq Baloch.

Interviews with local residents and police suggest that a local gang leader by the name of Gulabo, associated with the area’s bigwigs Ghaffar Zikri and Baba Ladla, was behind Ishtiaq’s killing.

They believe that he was killed for the sole purpose of instilling fear of the gangs among the area’s residents.

“The operation against gangsters has no doubt brought peace to Lyari and the locals having witnessed years of bloodshed were confident that violence was finally coming to an end,” claimed Lala Fateh Nazar, a social activist in Lyari.

However, Nazar added, that the gang’s commanders after being left weakened because of the operation, took to targeting political and social figures who were at the forefront in supporting the law enforcement agencies’ crackdown.

“Ishtiaq was vocal in condemning the atrocities of the gangs and had also announced to organise a peace rally before he was murdered,” informed a school teacher of the area. The rally was to send out a message to the entire city that Lyari was no more a no-go area, he added.

According to Ashfaq, the government was not interested in arresting the culprits involved in killing his brother.

He got an FIR registered at the Baghdadi police station against Gulabo, and soon after a number of gangsters associated with Gulabo resorted to aerial firing in the street where Ashfaq resides.

“Over two months have passed since the murder of my brother but nobody has been arrested so far. And the failure of law enforcement agencies’ to arrest the killers has whipped up fear among the local political and social activists of the area,” added a disgruntled Ashfaq.

“Incidents of attacking and threatening social and political activists in recent months show that violence has resurfaced in Lyari,” said another civil society activist, who recently moved to Gizri area owing to security concerns.

SP Lyari, Aftab Nizamani, while commenting over Ishtiaq’s murder said police were trying to arrest Gulabo, who, he claimed, went underground all the while the operating was being conducted.

“He narrowly escaped three raids conducted by the police,” the SP claimed.

A number of locals still believed that the gangs were not in a position to regain their lost strength but would continue assert their presence through carrying out targeted attacks.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Karachi

With dozens of her supporters, both men and women, young and elderly, Hafeeza Noor led her electoral rally on Sunday along the narrow streets of Shah Baig Lane and Baghdadi areas of Lyari.

Noor, aged around 50, is running for the post of the vice chairperson in the local government polls on a Pakistan People’s Party ticket in Lyari’s UC-7, one of the more “sensitive” union committees of the city.

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“I am thankful to the party leadership, especially the area’s office-bearers who recommended my name for the post,” Noor told The News at her election office in Shah Baig Lane.

Associated with the PPP since its inception, Noor and her family have remained active in the politics of the city, especially in Lyari.

During Nawaz Sharif’s first government in 1992, Noor and other PPP leaders were imprisoned in Adiala Jail for participating in an anti-government long march. She spent 18 days in jail.

She is currently the finance secretary of the PPP Karachi women wing and has also remained a city council member in 2001 on a reserved seat for women.

Noor said her nomination for the slot of the vice chairperson showed that the party had changed politically over the years. In the past, she added, top leaders were chosen as candidates in Lyari.

“As an old guard and a woman, the party preferred me rather than many male aspirants for the position,” she said.

The PPP has given the ticket for the chairperson slot to Lala Aashiq Ali, a former footballer.

Noor said her biggest inspiration were Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. “Both Bhuttos had dreamt of women’s participation in mainstream politics and today my nomination shows that the party still adheres to their policies,” she added.

Before Noor, the PPP leadership had fielded the then 26-year-old Saniya Naz for a provincial assembly seat in Lyari during the general election of 2013. The residents of Lyari had elected her as their MPA.

At Noor’s office, dozens of women and men were sitting around her.

Hanifa Laal Muhammad, an elderly PPP supporter, said not only the party’s female activists but all women in the area were happy over the allotment of ticket to Noor. “Dozens of women, along with Noor, participate in corner meetings and participate in door-to-door canvassing in the streets of Shah Baig Lane and Baghdadi,” she added.

Analysts believe that Noor will easily win the election as the neighbourhood is a PPP stronghold.

Around 80 percent of the constituency comprises Baloch residents. The rest belong to Kutchi and Hindu communities.

Iqbal Baloch, the PPP South district deputy information secretary, said rival groups were spreading baseless rumours that the PPP could not find candidates in Lyari.

“In UC-7, which comprises Shah Baig Lane and Baghdadi areas and is considered a ‘most-sensitive’ union committee, we have fielded a female candidate,” he added. “It’s enough to dispel such rumours.”

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