20 MMA activists arrested: Journalists manhandled -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

20 MMA activists arrested: Journalists manhandled

SARGODHA,April 01,2005: Police baton charged and arrested about 18 activists and two leaders of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal from the Shaheen Chowk here on Thursday who staged a motorcycle rally and distributed handbills in favour of April 2 wheel jam strike.

Police arrested Dr Arshad and Malik Muhammad Husain, Nazim of New Satellite Town, and shifted them to an undisclosed place. The participants in the rally used loudspeakers to convince people to take part in the wheel jam.

Meanwhile, the Factory Area police SHO manhandled reporters and press photographers and snatched their cameras and destroyed rolls of films when they took photographs of police baton charge. The SHO threatened journalists with dire consequences if they published news of police action.

Later, MMA leaders Masoodul Hasan of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Hamid Hameed ex-mayor of the PML-N and JUI’s Chaudhry Abdul Sattar at an hurriedly called press conference at the Press Club criticized police action and claimed that they disrupted a peaceful rally.

Mr Sattar, Shabab-i-Milli’s Malik Latif and Chaudhry Javed Iqbal Cheema said the people would respond to the MMA’s call to show their resentment against the wrong policies of the government.

They denied the allegation that the MMA was using negative tactics to muster the support of the masses. Although the district government is claiming to have gained favour of transporters, traders and people from all walks of life against the strike, the ground reality seems otherwise as local leadership of the MMA was using every tactic to keep the transporters and traders inside their houses.

Official sources claimed that the Anjuman-i-Tajran, transporters and rickshaw union have assured their support and promised that they would not become tools in the hands of religious or political parties. They further claimed that neither transporters nor any traders union have so far announced joining the strike, however they demanded special measures for protecting their life and property fearing violent reaction of the MMA activists.

The DPO, in the meantime, assured the people that police would perform their duty with diligence and nobody would be allowed to cause any damage to life or property of any citizen. District Nazim Malik Amjad Noon presided over a special meeting, attended by officials and representatives of traders, held to review the situation.

There was a rumour that the government would announce holiday on April 2 but no official confirmed the news. However, most of the parents have decided not to send their children to schools.
Source: Dawn