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KARACHI: The city’s University Road and petrol pumps on it were opened to traffic and public, respectively, hours after workers of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had resorted to violence and came to blows over a venue dispute for their May 12 rallies in Karachi’s Hakim Saeed ground on Monday night.
The two parties were at loggerheads after PTI and PPP announced Hakeem Saeed Ground in Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal area as their venue, when this seemingly short face-off gradually swirled up into being a full-fledged uproar in the city.
Workers belonging to both parties engaged in aerial firing and pelting stones at one another late Monday evening.
Traffic on the University Road was affected following the clash. Two cars were set on fire in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. The crowd vandalized motorcycles and cars parked at the venue.
Local police and rangers then evacuated the ground after trying to disperse the crowd.
PTI’s Ali Zaidi, on the other hand, claimed that PPP workers resorted to straight firing upon peaceful PTI workers sitting at the party camp.
Addressing a press conference earlier in the day, PPP leader Saeed Ghani claimed that PPP had sought permission from the DC East on May 4, who informed him that no political party was organizing or had sought permission to hold a political gathering at the specified venue.
“We were the first to announce a rally on May 12 and the PTI reserves the right to hold a public gathering at Hakeem Saeed Ground,” PTI Karachi chapter leader Firdous Naqvi said.
He said the PTI’s Karachi wing had earlier announced to hold their May 12 rally near the VIP Gate of Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum but later changed the venue without prior permission.
PTI leader Naeemul Haq, in an exclusive conversation with media, said PPP had on purpose requested the deputy commissioner for the same venue. “If PPP will create tension now, the same is likely in the upcoming elections,” said Haq.
PPP activists had chanted slogans in front of a minibus brought at the venue by the PTI. In response, party songs were played aloud from the PTI’s vehicle.
PTI member Ali Zaidi, meanwhile, had intervened to prevent a clash between supporters of the two parties.
PPP’s Saeed Ghani responded to Naqvi by maintaining that his party had taken permission for holding the rally.
“PTI’s attitude is based on ignorance and bullying,” bashed Ghani.
However, PPP leader Shehla Raza said her party had submitted a request for the venue on May 3. “We adopted a legal way to obtain the Hakeem Saeed Ground for our rally,” she said. “If PTI wanted the ground, it should have submitted its request to the authorities in advance.”
قانون کے مطابق, جلسے کی درخواست دینے کے بعد پاکستان پیپلزپارٹی کو 12 مئی کو گلشن اقبال میں جلسے کی اجازت مل گئی ہے.
امید ہے PTI کے معاملہ فہم ساتھی مسئلے کو خوش اسلوبی سے حل کریں گے. pic.twitter.com/vOMouCWlL4
— Senator Saeed Ghani (@SaeedGhani1) May 7, 2018
Amid an ongoing row over the venue, workers from both the parties had come face to face at Hakeem Saeed Ground earlier today.