KARACHI - AAfter the announcement made by the central leadership in Lahore, the protest demonstrations organised by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan at 24 places of Karachi culminated as the protesters dispersed peacefully in the wee hours of Saturday.
The TLP Karachi spokesman, Muhammad Ali Rizvi told The Nation that after the announcement by their chief Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the city leadership announced culminating their protest demonstrations which were held at 24 different places of the city including the main one at Numaish Chowrangi, Clifton, Bara Board, New Karachi, Liaquatabad.
Earlier, the TLP city leadership declined to end the sit-ins on the ‘rumors’ as Allama Razi Hussaini, its Karachi chief said that they would announce to end their sit-ins only on the straight directives of their supremo Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi. “Until the call from the centres, we would not end our sit-ins,” he said earlier in the day.
The central leadership of the party announced in a press conference in Lahore to end the protests across the country after reaching to an agreement with the federal government. As per sources, the main points of the pact included that the federal government would not oppose review petition in the case, the efforts would be made to place Asia’s name in the Exit Control List (ECL), those who were arrested during these days would be released. The protesters across the country are directed to end their protest.
Like previous two days, Karachi wore a deserted look on Friday as the activists of different religious groups took to streets against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi.
Majority of markets, shopping malls and eateries remained closed, public transport was more or less out from the roads as the protesters were gathered at almost at every main point of the city. However, an insignificant number of private vehicles were seen plying in few areas of the city.
The attendance at private and government offices remained thin as the strike also caused problems for office workers due to unavailability of public transport.
The schools and other educational institutions were closed while examinations at various varsities were also postponed.
As per details, the sit-ins and protest demonstrations were witnessed at over dozens places across the city including Sindhi Hotel New Karachi, Godhra, 4K Chowrangi, Power House Chowrangi, Nazimabad No 2, Teen Hatti, Liaquatabad No 10 and Liaquatabad Dak-Khana, Qayyumabad, Expressway, Korangi Nasir Jump, Landhi, Kornagi Dhai No2 ½, Bilal Colony, Orangi Town, Baldia, Jinnah Bridge, Bara Board, Meeranaka, Sultanabad, Hub Road, Mawach Goth, Maicolochy, Teen Talwar, Tower, Ranchorline, Ramswami, PIDC and Eidgah, Malir, Zero point and Dawood Chowrangi.
No major untoward incident was recorded as majority of the protestors remained peaceful; however, minor cases were reported at some places where the protesters, who were carrying sticks and chanting anti-government slogans, blocked traffic by setting tyres on fire.
As many as 14 politico-religious parties including Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, Ahle Sunnat Waljamt and Jamaat-e-Islami had given a strike and protest call across the country.
The TLP Karachi Ameer Allama Razi Hussaini said that their doors are open for dialogues but the sit-ins would not be ended through forces. While addressing a protest demonstration at Liquatabad, he said that they are not protesting for political gaining but for ‘Namoos-e-Risalat’. He added that the TLP is holding 24 ‘peaceful’ demonstrations in the city, adding that his party has nothing to do with any violent incident.
Allama Razi said that some miscreants tried to ruin the peace of the city by taking unjustifiable advantage of the protests but they were not belonged to them. The TLP’s protest being held in Karachi and other parts of the country are completely constitutional and lawful. “The people have given their own verdict in the referendum by participating in such a large numbers,” he added.
The TLP spokesman Muhammad Ali Rizvi in a statement said that no one from his party attacked on the residence of the PTI MPA located in Soldier Bazar.
Also, addressing a protest demonstration against the release of Aasia Bibi, the Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi Chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman demanded the Supreme Court of Pakistan to withdraw its verdict. He also asked the federal government to file a review petition over the verdict of the apex court.
Hafiz Naeem announced that his party would take out a protest rally over on Sunday from Bait-ul-Mukarram Mosque to Hassan Square and vowed to raise the voice against ‘unjustified’ verdict.
“The lovers of Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) will never tolerate the blasphemy at any cost. The acquittal of Aasia is a part of conspiracy hatched to please the western world,” said Naeem.
The JI city chief added that external forces are fully aware by the fact that the Muslim Ummah will not tolerate any blasphemous act in grace of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).
He was of the view that the people through protest demonstrations are expressing their sentiments and anger over the verdict of apex court, demanding the government to play its due role in this regard.
Separately, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat leader Allama Aurangzaib Farooqui said that they would not accept such decisions of the court and asked as to why cases pertaining to extra judicial killings were not taken up these courts.
Addressing a rally at Dawood Chowrangi, Allama Farooqui said that if such decisions would be taken in a government that claims to make country on the footsteps of the state of Madinah, then it would become difficult for them to run the affairs.
He also called for reversal of the apex court decision and said that the woman-Asia Bibi- should be hanged as per the decision of the trial and high courts.
Addressing Friday sermon at Masjid-e-Taqwa in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Jamaat-ud-Dawa Karachi leader Mufti Abdul Latif said that apex court verdict for acquitting Aasia was weak and could be challenged. He asked the religious leaders to gather on one platform and preach their followers to not resort to violence.
A meeting of Sunni clerics led by Syed Rizwan Shah Jeelani and attended by Pakistan Sunni Tehreek chief Sarwat Ejaz Qadri, Syed Muzzafar Hussain Shah JUP’s Qazi Ahmed Noorani and others said in a joint statement that Pakistan Army is a sacred institution and they respect it but the government should refrain from using power as it could lead to repercussions.
They demanded to place name of Aasia Bibi on Exit Control List and asked as to how she could be released after admitting her guilt. They also asked the protesters to remain peaceful and refrain from restoring to violence as the country and its infrastructure was theirs. “The protesters should keep a strict eye on those trying to lead them towards violence,” they asked. The PST leadership demanded that a full bench of the apex court should hear a review petition on the case and religious clerics be involved in arguments.
In another statement, Vice President Wifaq ul Madaris Al Arabiya Moulana Anwar ul Haq termed the court decision as unwise and said that since nine years she was declared guilty by the trial and high courts but now suddenly the apex court decided to set her free. “Hasty decision in such a sensitive case has raised serious questions on the institutions,” he added.
The law enforcement agencies adopted strict security measures to avert any untoward incident as more than 12,000 Rangers and police personnel were deployed in the city. The Ranger and police convoy were seen patrolling in many areas of the city.
The provincial police chief Dr Syed Kaleem Imam also directed his subordinates to take extraordinary measures to maintain law and order situation in the city. He also directed the police officials concerned to enhance police patrolling and snap checking across the city as well as heavy deployment of the police on the intercity routes.
MANSOOR KHAN/MUHAMMAD SABIH