KARACHI:(APS)FEB 2,2016- In a bid to disperse protesting Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) employees at Jinnah Terminal, security personnel resorted to baton-charging and using rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas shells on Tuesday, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for implementation of the Essential Services Act.
Two protesters died after sustaining bullet wounds. Rangers and police deny “handling protesters violently” and firing at the site of the clash.
Pakistan Airlines Cabin Crew Association President and JAC spokesman Nasrullah Khan earlier told media that the strike would proceed as the government had not accepted the body’s four-point agenda.
Television footage showed security personnel fire tear gas shells and water cannons at protesters as they attempted to force their way into the cargo gate.
An injured protester Inayat Raza, who sustained a bullet wound in his chest during the protest, succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital. Raza was a member of PIA’s engineering department.
Another injured person, Saleem, who also sustained bullet wounds died at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Complex (JPMC), spokesman Dr Seemi Jamali confirmed. She said at least ten injured people were admitted to JPMC, two of whom were critical.
Deputy Inspector General East Kamran Fazal said bullet casings were collected to ascertain who opened fire on the protesters. He claimed the bullets were not fired by policemen. “We instructed our personnel not to handle the protesters violently. We are trying to find out who initiated the clash,” he said.
“No Rangers personnel has fired to control the protest at Jinnah Terminal today,” Rangers Public Relations Officer said in an official statement.
At least three other people, including a DawnNews cameraman Shafiq Dilshad, were injured during the protest as security officials also dispersed journalists and media personnel covering the incident. Dilshad’s condition is said to be stable.
An Express News cameraman Agha Rafiq was also injured in the clash, while a business reporter of The Express Tribune was baton-charged.