One dead, four injured during Pakistan’s airport protests

Police and employees clash at Jinnah International Airport, leaving one dead and four wounded

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Employees of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) chant slogans as they march towards the Jinnah International Airport during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan, February 2, 2016

An employee was shot dead and four others were injured during protests which took place at Pakistan’s largest airport after the government proposed to complete the privatisation of the national carrier by June.  

The police were on duty at the Jinnah International Airport of Karachi on Tuesday and had to resort to the use of aerial firing, water cannons and tear gas to disperse employees who tried to join the demonstrations.  

According to the Agha Khan hospital, the employee who lost his life during the protests was identified as Inayat Raza.  

"The PIA employee was brought dead at our emergency department and our team attempted to revive him for 20 minutes," a spokesman from the hospital said.

A colleague of Raza, Nadeem Jaffer also confirmed the death of his friend.  

Head of the emergency department of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre said that the four injured people, including two with non-fatal gunshot wounds, remain under medical treatment at the hospital.  

Police denied that they opened fire against the protesters.  

Kamran Fazal, the police chief of the city's eastern district said that, "The situation escalated when a couple of gunshots were fired. My officers told me that they might have been fired from the crowd.”

"We are searching for the empty shells and only then we can establish who opened fire."

The call for the protests were made by the Joint Action Committee of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) after the bill for the privatisation of the flag carrier was passed in the National Assembly on Jan. 21.

Following the protests police arrested three key leaders of the group, and also at least six flights were cancelled due to the rising tension at the airport.

TRTWorld and agencies