MIRPUR (AJK) - The AJK government has announced to close down all private and public sector educational institutions across the state on Friday (today) as part of preventive measures to maintain law and order throughout the liberated territory, official sources told The Nation.

Massive protests had erupted in all small and major towns of the AJK soon after the news concerning the acquittal of blasphemy suspect Aasia Maseeh by the Supreme Court of Pakistan spread in the state like a wildfire.

Life was partially paralysed across the AJK as the state was virtually dislinked from the country by traditional road links due to complete blockage of almost all the entry points leading to all major cities including the capital town of Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Kotli, Bhimbher and Rawalakot, Palandari by thousands of protesters. They staged sit-ins at the major entry points including Mangla, Palaak, and Kohala bridges, Holar, Garhi Habib Ullah, Dheerkot, Azad Pattan, and Gujrat-Bhimbher highways to protest against the SC decision in favour of blasphemy suspect who had earlier been convicted and awarded capital punishment by the subordinate courts.

The protestors, belonging to various sects of the Muslims, raised slogans against the decision besides delivering speeches demanding immediate withdrawal of the verdict by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. They vowed to continue the protest demonstrations across the AJK till the acceptance of their demand. They expressed complete solidarity with the country-wide protests against the SC verdict across Pakistan.

All the private and public sector educational institutions will remain closed for next two days in Mirpur and other parts of the AJK due to continued suspension of the routes leading to the major cities of AJK. The routes' blockage has hit the business activity in the state. National newspapers appearing from Lahore and Islamabad could not reach AJK on Thursday due to suspension of the transport since Wednesday morning.

Addressing a protest rally at central Shaheed Chowk in Mirpur on Thursday, speakers including leading Ulema and Muslim religious scholars announced to observe black day on Friday in Mirpur district and other parts of the AJK against the acquittal of blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi by the apex court of the country.

Call for separate street agitations, after Jumma (Friday) Prayers, has been given by various political, religious, social, lawyers, students, traders and other organisations representing diverse segments of the Civil Society against the Sc verdict.

In Mirpur, a large number of people will gather in various city streets soon after Jumma prayers today to join the protest rallies at Central Shaheed Chowk. The protest will be organised by the AJK chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami, Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajiran, Markazi Milad Committee, and Islami Jammiat-e-Tuleba.