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Reports: Two people killed in protests at airport in Karachi, Pakistan

Airline employees were reportedly demonstrating against privatization plans.
By Fred Lambert Contact the Author   |   Feb. 2, 2016 at 6:22 PM

KARACHI, Pakistan, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Clashes Tuesday between demonstrators and security forces at an airport in Karachi, Pakistan, claimed the lives of at least two people.

The BBC reported that staff of Pakistan International Airlines were protesting privatization plans, including proposals to complete a partial sale of the airliner by July.

Pakistani security forces deployed to the Jinnah International Airport, used water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and batons in an unsuccessful bid to prevent protesters from breaking through a cargo gate.

Police denied firing upon the crowd or "handling protesters violently."

Pakistan's DAWN News identified one of the dead as Inayat Raza, a member of PIA's engineering department who sustained a bullet wound to the chest.

The report said another protester, referred to only as "Saleem," also succumbed to gunshot wounds and that ten others were injured.

Officials said they were retrieving shell casings from the site to determine who was responsible for the gunfire.

In the wake of the incident, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has invoked the Essential Services Act, which outlaws PIA union activity for six months.

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