LAHORE - Rejecting the Supreme Court verdict that acquitted Aasia Bibi, a Christian, of the blasphemy charge, the nascent Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan on Wednesday started protests in the City – and on GT Road, Motorways between Lahore and Islamabad - blocking main arteries and setting alight tyres, creating serious problems for the millions of commuters throughout the day.

Other parties like the JUI-F, JUI-S, Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamaat-ud-Dawa of Hafiz Saeed, JUP, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith also rejected the three-judge order, but did not join the protest on the first day. They will hold consultations before joining the anti-decision demonstrations.

The PPP supported the apex court verdict but the PML-N so far issued no official stance on it. Its central leader Raja Zafarul Haq, however, was standing beside Maulana Fazlur Rehman when the MMA chief condemned the decision and justified the protests.

The protests suspended train service from Lahore to other cities and paralysed the City by blocking all important arteries including The Mall, Ferozepur Road, Metro Bus at 27-km long track from Shahdrah to Gajjumata, Multan Road and Canal Road at different spots.

Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the head of the TLP and main force behind the protest, said they will not move from the protest spots and continue sit-in across the country until the removal of judges from their posts.

He appealed his supporters to close their businesses and stop going to their offices, asking them to join the protests.

Another faction of Tehreek-e-Labbaik, led by Ashraf Asif Jalali, held a protest demonstration in front of Data Darbar.

The government blocked mobile service in different cities including Lahore in the evening to avoid any untoward incident.

The leaders of the JUI-F, Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, JUI-S, Markazi Jamiat Ahlehadith and other religious organisations condemned the decision and justified the protests.

They said SC decision was a violation of law and was shocking for the entire nation.

JUI-F held a protest in Islamabad and announced to spread the agitations across the country. The JI called a meeting of Milli Yakjehti Council, a conglomerate of different religious parties, at Mansoora on Thursday to devise a strategy on protests.

JI Chief Sirajul Haq called upon the government to place Aasia’s name on the ECL so that she could not flee the country.

JuD Head Hafiz Saeed termed the decision unfortunate, stating that the Western lobby was behind it. He announced that his party would file an intra-court appeal against the decision.

The JuD called for countrywide protests on Friday. It held a rally in front of its headquarters Jamia Qadsia Chauburji on Wednesday.

Hafiz Saeed also called a meeting of party lawyers and central leaders on Thursday to devise strategy on protests.

JUI-S head Maulana Samiul Haq, in a statement, strongly criticised the judgment. Professor Sajid Mir of MJAH and Pir Ijaz Hashmi of JUP also announced to join the protest.

Reportedly, protest continued at all important points of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Lahore, Kasur, Okara, Faisalabad, Multan, Hyderabad, Karachi, Peshawar and other big cities.

Milli Yakjehti Council Council Sahibzada Abul Khair Dr Muhammad Zubair has convened an emergency meeting of the MYC at Mansoora on Thursday to discuss the situation arising out of the Supreme Court decision.