MQM worker succumbed to cardiac arrest, not police torture: Saeed Ghani

Sindh Information and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani on Thursday said that MQM-P’s worker died due to cardiac arrest a day ago and not because of police torture as portrayed by the party.

“Although an unpleasant incident took place outside the Chief Minister House the previous day, the police was left with no option but to take action against the protesters for the sake of prestige and dignity of the country that was at stake for rest of the world,” Ghani said.

Speaking during a press conference at the Sindh Assembly’s committee room, the minister said that a “well-thought-out plan had been behind the unpleasant incident of the previous day to create negative repercussions for the international players participating in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches.”

He said that MQM-P had the “plan to spread ethnic divide in Karachi and the recent statements of their leaders were a testament to this fact.”

He informed the media that MQM-P had earlier announced to start a protest rally from Shahrah-e-Faisal and move towards the Karachi Press Club to hold a demonstration there, adding that the Opposition party had been in touch with the city’s administration with regard to their plan.

Ghani also said that the city’s administration kept on facilitating the movement of the protest rally from Shahrah-e-Faisal to the Metropole intersection where it reached at 4pm. Later, it decided to move towards the Press Club as per the original protest plan. However, the participants of the rally abruptly decided to move towards the CM House instead,” Ghani said.

The PPP leader said the deputy commissioner of the district south and other senior police officials informed the MQM-P leaders Wasim Akhtar and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui that the area in the surroundings of the CM House had been declared a high-security zone owing to the presence of international cricket players lodging in the nearby hotels.

“The administration advised the leaders of MQM-P to stick to their original protest plan and go to the Press Club for staging the demonstration,” he said.

He also said that the rally’s participants didn’t pay heed to the advice of the administration as they crossed the obstacles at the Metropole and reached outside the CM House.

“What other option was then available to us as a PSL team present in the vicinity had to come outside of the hotel and go for practice but players didn’t go anywhere due to the resultant situation,” Ghani added.

He said the incident that happened outside the CM House “was, indeed, unpleasant as it didn’t bode well for the Sindh government.”

During the press conference, Ghani said that the provincial government had to ensure the security of the area around CM House, given the presence of international players in the nearby hotels as the image of the country for the outside world was at stake.

He also recalled the statement of Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed that the overall law and order situation of the country was not satisfactory.

The Information Minister said the police — as a last resort — had to take the action to disperse the protestors, adding that the “MPA of MQM-P, Sadaqat Hussain, along with fellow party members used sticks to beat the policemen.”

“It was imperative that the police should have honourably treated the woman protesters but MQM-P is in the habit of using female followers of the party and children as its shield on such occasions,” he said.

‘Worker died due to cardia arrest’

Talking about the deceased activist of MQM-P, Aslam, Ghani said: “He had died due to cardiac arrest as police torture didn’t result in his death.”

The PPP stalwart added that Aslam was first taken by his family to the Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases and later he was taken to NICVD where doctors pronounced him dead.

He said that Aslam should have been taken to the nearby Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre or Civil Hospital had he sustained injuries outside CM House.

Ghani appealed to the bereaved family of the MQM-P’s worker to allow a post-mortem examination of his body to determine the exact cause of his death.

He also told the media that the PPP had decided to postpone its upcoming sit-in protest outside Karachi Press Club on January 30 due to the sensitive security situation of the city owing to the PSL matches.