Alamgir Khan, the founder of the #FixIt campaign and a National Assembly member who belongs to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, was beaten and arrested by the police on Sunday after he tried to hold a protest outside the residence of Minister for Local Government Saeed Ghani.
The incident took place when Khan and his supporters clashed with PPP workers as the former moved towards Ghani’s house to hold a demonstration against “water and sewerage issues” faced by Karachi. Police intervened after matters escalated and, according to Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South Sharjeel Kharal, were “compelled” to resort to baton charge.
The DIG South contended that the demonstrators had announced that they will hold a protest outside the minister’s residence when the “designated” place for press conferences and protests was the Karachi Press Club. He further said that the police had reports that the protesters planned to throw garbage outside the minister’s house.
Saqib Awan, an activist who is part of the FixIt movement, claimed that the PPP workers attacked the protesters with sticks when the latter were headed towards Ghani’s house. Awan also accused the police of “joining hands” with the PPP workers and behaving in a partisan manner. Kharal denied the accusation of being partisan and said that PPP workers were also among the arrested.
Awan told Dawn that FixIt activists had announced “two or three days ago” that they will protest outside the minister’s house over problems pertaining to water and sewerage in the city because, despite being the chairman of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Ghani had not made any efforts to address water-related problems.
Awan alleged that PPP workers and police had “laid a siege” around the minister’s house in order to deter protesters. He further claimed that the PPP workers had attacked the demonstrators without provocation.
Meanwhile, Ghani, in a conversation with the media, said: “We have not stopped anyone from holding a protest as it is the right of every political worker but hooliganism will not be tolerated.”