LAHORE - Protest demonstrations were held yesterday in different parts of the city by activists of religious parties, students of seminaries and supporters of Mumtaz Qadri against his execution on Monday morning.

Leaders of religious parties issued condemnation messages against the hanging of Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, and announced three-day mourning across the country. They said their protest will continue in coming days.

Main markets inside Walled City and at The Mall, Ferozepur Road, Multan Road and other areas remained partially closed while the authorities suspended metro bus service from Shahdrah to Gajumatta causing huge rush of commuters on other transport service at adjacent routes. The service was later resumed.

There were also reports that the protestors in Shahdrah, Taxali and Thokar Niaz Beg forced the shopkeepers to close their businesses. They closed Multan Road for traffic which was restored by the police later on.

The main transport companies partially plied their buses during the whole day. Thin presence of public and private transport was seen at Lahore’s main arteries.

Protests demonstrations were held at Lahore’s exit and entry points, causing huge mess of traffic. The protestors in shape of small groups gathered at Thokar Niaz Beg, Shahdrah, Taxali, Data Darbar, Muslim Town, Chungi Amar Siddhu and other areas, and chanted slogans against PML-N government. They termed Mumtaz Qadri a ‘martyr’ and the country’s government a ‘blasphemer’.

Different religious parties including Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulama-e-Pakistan, Jamiat-e-Ulma-e-Islam-F (JUI-F), JUI-S, Sunni Ittehad Council, Aalmi Tanzeem Khatam-e-Nabowat, Shia Ulama Council, Tanzeem-e-Islami, Jamiat Ehle Hadith, Markzi Jamiat Ehle Hadith, Islami Yakjehti Council and other have given a call to hold protest demonstrations in Lahore and other cities.

Jamaat-e-Islami, in a statement, claimed all religious parties of the country had announced full scale participation in the funeral of Mumtaz Qadri at Rawalpindi besides offering funeral in absentia all over the country. The Milli Yakjehti Council appealed the masses to join the funeral at Rawalpindi in large numbers.

MYJ Secretary General Liaqat Baloch also appealed the minorities to join the Muslims as an expression of solidarity on the most sensitive issue. He believed that by executing Mumtaz Qadri, the Pakistani government had joined the anti-Islam forces patronising the blasphemers. Baloch also appealed the transporters to join the protest by keeping their vehicles off the road.

On the other hand, Pakistan Ulama Council chairman Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi said the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri endorsed the supremacy of law in Pakistan. But he maintained that holding protest against Qadri execution was also a democratic right of the people.