Workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) inched closer to a potential violent clash in Hyderabad on Thursday at midnight. Eleven persons, including a woman, from both the sides reportedly suffered minor injuries in the brawl. The MQM claimed that five of the injured belonged to their party while the six others were claimed by the PSP. Hundreds of supporters of the two sides shouted slogans after gathering on the street outside the MQM Hyderabad Zone Office and an adjacent road, Bhai Khan Charhi. The commotion lasted for around three hours as the police helplessly tried to defuse the situation.

“We are trying to put an end to this standoff between workers of [the] two political parties,” said ASP Suhai Aziz.

MQM MPA Rashid Khilji claimed surviving an armed assault by four motorcycle riders outside MQM’s zonal office while a nearby party office was also set ablaze. The PSP workers, meanwhile, alleged that they were provoked during a Pakistani flag-raising ceremony and attacked while returning from the event.

“The PSP workers who opened fire on the MPA and attacked the zonal office should be booked and face action,” said MQM leaders at a late-night press conference. PSP’s Iftikhar Ahmed Khanzada alleged that the party, which believed in politics over dead bodies, attacked their workers. “The MQM held its rally in the same place where the PSP was raising the Pakistani flag,” alleged a worker. “It was deliberately provocative and violent.”

The police arrested the brother of a PSP organising committee member, Kamran Khanzada. The arrest was initially resisted. The incident’s FIR was lodged on Friday evening.

At a press conference at PSP House, Hyderabad, on Friday, Kamal said that they have no grudge against the MQM workers who attacked the PSP supporters. He blamed MQM chief Altaf Hussain for inciting his supporters to attack the PSP leaders and workers.

Conspiracies against peace in Karachi afoot: MQM

The MQM has said that a conspiracy is in place to destroy Karachi’s peace. “The peace and harmony of this city is being disturbed by miscreants,” said MQM leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan at a press conference on Friday.

“Other parties are free to do whatever they want to, while everyone’s focus is on the MQM to label it as a terrorist party,” said Hassan. “We are an elected party having won the general elections, the cantonment elections and local government elections.”

Hassan said that he informed the provincial IG and the government about the recent incidents but no action has been taken. People are feeling helpless and there is a sense of deprivation rising among them. “If such emotions increase, then we won’t be able stop people,” he warned.