TV channel raided during protests in Karachi

ViolKarachi Protestence, reportedly triggered by a television address by an exiled political leader, resulted in one death and seven injuries

Karachi: Political activists in Pakistan fought with police and attacked a private television station in the city of Karachi on Monday, leaving one man dead and seven others injured, including three media workers.

Violence broke out after a telephone address from the exiled leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Altaf Hussain, in which he criticised the media for failing to provide enough coverage to his workers.

The group’s activists had just ended a week’s hunger strike over a government crackdown against them, before attacking the ARY station in response to Hussain’s address.

MQM workers also clashed with police on the streets, sparking volleys of gunshots and tear gas in several places across the city, police and witnesses said.

Senior polive officer, Saqib Ismail said: “We have carried out teargas shelling to disperse the mob, who were trying to attack a television office.”

Hospital officials confirmed that one unidentified man was killed while seven others were injured – two with gunshot wounds.

Doctor Seemi Jamali, director at a state-run hospital said: “One was brought (to the hospital) dead, who was shot with a gun.”

Three of the injured belonged to media organisations, she confirmed.

Television footage showed dozens of men and women barging into ARY’s office, smashing doors, windows and equipment with rods and batons and setting fire to several vehicles.

ARY anchor, Kashif Abbasi said: “They are Muttahida people. [Altaf] ordered them to do it and within ten minutes all this happened.”

Paramilitary Rangers arrested the MQM’s top leader in Pakistan, Farooq Sattar, as he arrived to address a press conference at Karachi Press Club on Monday evening.

Officials said he was arrested in connection with the unrest.

The MQM, run by Hussain from London – and accused of using extortion and murder to cement its grip on power – has long been blamed for ethnic violence in Karachi.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack on ARY, describing the incident as “an attack on freedom of press and expression.”

Senior Sindh ranger, Major General Bilal Akbar, urged citizens not to worry following the incident, promising: “The attackers will be made to pay for their wrong deeds.”

Source: AFP, Dawn,DCMF

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