KARACHI   -  Religious parties especially Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan Wednesday paralysed business hub of the country by staging sit-ins at main thoroughfares and entry and exit points of the city in protest against the Supreme Court verdict to acquit Aasia Bibi.

It is pertinent to mention here that the three-member apex court bench led by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar Wednesday acquitted Aasia Bibi of blasphemy charges.

Initially in the morning, the TLP supporter and workers reached various key points of the city and blocked the roads while later other religious parties including Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Sunni Tehreek, Jamiat Ulema-e Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) and Ahle-e-Sunnat Wal Jammat also adopted the same stance and blocked other main roads.

The protesters were holding placards and banners. They chanted slogans against Aasia, ruling government and western powers stating the US and Israel with support of rulers were hatching conspiracies against the existing blasphemy laws. We were on roads to condemn the verdict and show that being Muslims will not tolerate such acts, they added.

Sit-ins in different locations caused panic and fear among citizens as majority of the schools were also closed before the closing time. The sit-ins were held in various parts of the city including Teen Talwar, Boat Basin, Dabba More on Northern Bypass, Metrovill Bab-e-Khyber, Al Asif Zero Point, Love Lane Signal, Lyari’s Mira Naka, Merewether Tower, Mauripur Road, Paracha Chowk, 8-D Chowk,Shahabuddin Market, Essa Nagri towards Gharibabad, 4K Chowrangi, Five Star Chowrangi in North Nazimabad, Al Karam Square in Karimabad, University Road, Star Gate, Hassan Square, Askri Park towards Hassan Square, Jauhar Chowrangi, Korangi No 2.5, Korangi No 5, Godown Chowrangi, Murtaza Chowrangi, Chamra Chowrangi, Vita Chowrangi, Baloch Colony Expressway, Orangi Town, Bara Board, Dawood Chowrangi and Maskan Chowrangi. The protesters also blocked the Super Highway, National Highway, Northern Bypass and Lyari Expressway.

At various location protestors having sticks and stones in their hands also tortured passing vehicles. They also set tryes on fire and blocked traffic for entire day. The aerial firing was also reported in some of the localities in Karachi to force the shopkeepers to close their businesses down.

The Sindh government on Wednesday imposed a ban on pillion riding and also imposed section 144 for 10 days in view of the current law and order situation across Sindh province. The decision was taken in the wake of protests and rioting after a Supreme Court verdict. The provincial government has also banned processions and rallies, as well as carrying of arms. Under section 144, assembly of more than four people will not be allowed. The notification stated the ban has been imposed for 10 days.

Following the incidents occurred in different part of city heaving contingent of law enforcers was also deployed in to prevent any untoward incident while the Station House Officers (SHOs) were also asked to remain until the next orders and snap checking and patrolling should be enhanced. IGP Sindh Dr Syed Kaleem Imam also asked the police officials concerned to remain alert the anti-riots force and the reserve police, adding that he also asked to enhance security of the minorities and their worship places.

On the other hand, addressing a protest demonstration at Numaish Chowrangi TLP leader Razi Hussain Naqshbandi warned the government that people were standing beside the TLP Chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and ready to react on his signal. This is a sensitive issue judiciary should think deeply before taking any decision which could hurt the sentiments of Muslims. He said that supporters and workers were prepared to sacrifice their lives to protect the honour of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).  “We are not going to accept Supreme Court verdict acquitting Aasia Bibi`s sentenced to death over blasphemy allegations,” said Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi Chief Hafiz Naeem while addressing the demo at M A Jinnah Road Karachi.

Earlier, all the religious parties including JI urged the Supreme Court not to issue decision in favour of Aasia informing the apex court about the religious sentiments and protest.

Naeem said Prime Minister Imran Khan should come forward and filed an appeal against the decision. Judiciary instead of giving surprises should focus to provide justice to the people. Unfortunately this institution has failed to punish the responsible of Balida Factory Fire incident and showed quite speed in sensitive cases, said JI Karachi chief.

Similarly, leaders of Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith addressing a demonstration outside Karachi Press Club (KPC) remarked that SC verdict would be regarded as a black chapter in the judicial history of Pakistan. They said the rulers and institution were still in run to please their so-called foreign friends however this move will encourage the conspirators aboard who carry out things like caricature contest to hurt the sentiments of Muslims across the globe.

The decision will create chaos in the county, said Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Sindh leader Qari Muhammad Usman while addressing a sit-in at Shershah Karachi. He said that immature politicians were ruling the country and PTI led federal government instead of providing relief was bent upon creating crisis one after another.

Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) Pakistan Chief Professor Hafiz Muhammad Saeed rejected Supreme Court`s verdict in Aasia Bibi case and announced holding protest across the county on Friday. He also urged all the religious and political forces to get untied against the blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Saeed said that Muslims were ready to the safeguard the sanctity of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and even prepared to sacrifice their lives.

“Pakistan is an Islamic state and also has laws to deal with the incidents of committing blasphemy, at this stage ruling government, judiciary and other key institutions should come forward to close the doors for the elements hatching conspiracy against the Islam,” he added.

Reacting over Prime Minister Imran Khan`s address to the nation JI Chief Sirajul Haq has said that fight and protest over the Namoos-e-Risalat issue was not a fight against the state. He was speaking to the oath taking ceremony of the party new Karachi Chief Hussain Mehnti. Siraj said that Supreme Court should constitute a larger bench and must hear the case once again whereas Prime Minister should not stop people from protest as it is the democratic right of masses.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS ANNOUNCE HOLIDAY TODAY

Private School Association keeping in view the law and order situation of Karachi has announced holiday today. Spokesperson said the members of the association after reviewing the entire situation of city has came up with the decision that protests on various key roads of the city were creating hurdles the movement of vehicles and it would be not possible for the students, teachers and other staffers to reach the education institutions. So far the Provincial Education department had not made announcement to close schools but Association members had kept the safety of students and staffers on priority and taken the decision to close schools on Thursday.

On the other side, Sindh Education Department has announced that all the schools will remain open on Thursday. Private School Association does not have the authority to announce any holiday whereas if the situation remains uncontrolled then Sindh Education Department will announce the school and education institutions closure on Thursday.

 

FARRAZ ISRAR