Pakistan’s commercial metropolis recovers after religious protesters disband

Author: SIB KAIFEEMon, 2017-11-27 23:47ID: 1511804876271036000KARACHI: Karachi’s streets were empty on Monday morning as news of successful negotiations between the federal government and a leading religious party, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rashool Allah (TLYR), produced a sigh of relief in the commercial hub that has suffered because of protesters blocking the city’s main roads.
Protesters agreed to end the sit-in after a six-point agreement was negotiated and signed between the civil administration, the army and the TLYR. Law Minister Zahid Hamid submitted his resignation to the prime minister, which was a key demand of TLYR Chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and his followers.
“Karachi sit-ins will be over after midday prayers,” said Muhammad Hamza of TLYR speaking to Arab News.
Some 30 to 40 locations in different parts of Karachi were blocked by religious activists who caused massive traffic jams. Alternative routes were soon bottlenecked as vehicles rushed to use small streets which were incapable of handling more than a few dozen vehicles. Commuters faced difficulties due to the suspension of public transport which did not operate on Monday.
Fear gripped Karachi, the country’s most populated city, as angry protesters, armed with sticks set rubber tires on fire. Clashes with security forces attempting to disband protesters left at least 35 people injured, some with gunshot wounds. Gunfire was reported at a few protest locations on Saturday but police say they did not target protesters and only fired bullets into the air. Tear gas was used to stop protesters attempting to damage public and private property when the mob grew violent.
Fuel supplies were low in the Punjab province of Pakistan as oil distribution was disrupted by the blockades in Karachi, the main source of oil for the country. The All Pakistan Oil Tanker Owners Association (APOTOA) told Arab News that it had suffered irrecoverable losses.
“We have lost Rs.10,000 (US $100) per oil tanker per day excluding the fuel income,” said APOTOA Central spokesman Israr Ahmed Shinwari. He added that fuel requirements of many cities could not be met and more than 250 oil tankers carrying tens of thousands of liters of oil lost at least two days’ worth of business.
Some shop and business owners cautiously began opening later in the day but overall the sprawling city remained quiet, unlike the daily buzz in the city which never sleeps.
The severing of supply routes has also increased the prices of goods in the markets.
Train services were also affected due to demonstrations. Protesters blocked railway tracks in the northern part of the city and at least 10 trains were affected, railway officials said.
A definite estimate of accumulated losses in Karachi city are yet to come as Sindh Government officials refrain from commenting.
Main category: WorldTags: PakistanTehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rashool AllahKhadim Hussain RizviTLYRAPOTOAKarachirelated_nodes: Pakistani protesters end sit-in after govt gives in to their demandsPakistan leadership decides to negotiate with protestersPakistani Islamists clash with police, paralyze cities

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