Karachi: Tension prevailed here on Wednesday in Pakistan's biggest city and financial hub after MQM chief Altaf Hussain announced countrywide protests over the killing of a party worker in Punjab province.
Dismissing the central committee of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Karachi and London, Hussain called on all party workers and supporters to hold countrywide protests till the killers of party activist Bao Anwar in Sialkot are arrested.
Hussain addressing his workers at the party headquarters in Karachi over the phone from London slammed the central coordination members for not reacting to the activists killing last night.
"These people on the central committee have resorted to even selling grounds and lanes in Karachi to make money. They have brought a bad name to the party, I don't need them at all, they are banished," he said.
The committee members include those elected on MQM tickets to the national and provincial assemblies.
Soon after Hussain's call for countrywide protests people started rushing home from offices and businesses as petrol pumps and markets started to shut down resulting in chaos and heavy traffic gridlocks in many areas of the city.
Hussain's call for countrywide protests comes just two days before the arrival of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in Karachi.
The PTI has announced it would shut down and hold protests in Karachi on December 12 against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's PML-N government.
Hussain warned the PML-N government to be prepared for protests against the targeted killing of MQM workers.
"When even a single worker of any other party is killed the country is hit by protests, if we protest the death of our activists we are branded as terrorists," Hussain said.
He said no minister or advisor of the Punjab government would be allowed to enter Sindh if the killers of the MQM activist were not arrested in Sialkot.
"I appeal to the workers to hold protest demonstrations and decide about the routes of the processions and venues of demonstrations on their own. Protest demonstrations should be held throughout Pakistan besides Karachi even if 10 people take part in it," the MQM chief said.
MQM which represents the Urdu-speaking Muhajir migrants from India, is the single largest party in Karachi and has a strong support base in the metropolis.