KARACHI - City wore a deserted look on Thursday as majority of the markets, petrol pumps, schools and universities remained closed as protests continue against acquittal of Aasia Bibi.

Though, no major untoward incident was witnessed but the routine remained to a halt on the second consecutive day of protests which were held over two dozen locations in Karachi.

The schools would remain closed on Friday as well as the private schools management announced the closure due to ‘uncertain’ situation.

Thin attendance was witnessed at government and private offices.

A total 14 religious parties have given a strike call on Friday which would be observed across the country, as per the announcements.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan

The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) Karachi chief Allama Razi Hussaini demanded that those involved in attacking the protesters at sit-in in New Karachi should be arrested. He said that their two workers— Shahbaz and Shahid— both aged 30-year were killed and 12 were injured in firing incident took place near Sindhi Hotel in New Karachi locality late night on Wednesday. Taking a jab at the federal government, he said that the statement of the Prime Minister Imran Khan is tantamount to enlarge the wounds of the Muslims.

The TLP city chief termed the rumors regarding ends of sit-ins as baseless and said that they would continue their protest across the country till their demands are met. “More than thousands protest demonstrations are being held allover Pakistan but not a single case of any vandalism is reported,” he claimed.

Allama Razi accused the police of patronising the killing of their ‘peaceful’ workers, demanding the culprits should be arrested and brought under the law. “The incident has made the roles of the federal and provincial governments suspicious,” he said.

Milli Yekjehti Council

Milli Yekjehti Council (MYC) announced holding protest demonstrations today (Friday) across the province just like other parts of the country against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi.

Talking to media after holding a meeting at Idarae Noor-e-Huq, the MYC Sindh President Asadullah Bhutto said that they reject the verdict of the apex court. Bhuttho said it is condemnable that the provincial government had imposed section 144 of CrPC in order to ‘restrain’ the people from expressing their sentiment. He demanded of the provincial government to allow ‘peaceful’ people to hold the protest and the pillion riding ban and imposition of section 144 be withdrawn immediately.

Criticising other parties, he said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Muttahida Qaumi Movement have kept the stance which he termed against the sentiments of the people. “Why don’t the PPP and PML-N accept the decisions of the courts against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif as now they want people to accept this decision which is passed by the apex court, “Bhutto questioned.

He said the Namoos-e-Risalat is the matter of faith for every Muslim and the protest across the country had proved that they are ready to sacrifice their lives and everything for Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). Bhutto also demanded of the authorities concerned to hold judicial inquiry on New Karachi tragedy where two protestors were killed allegedly by the law enforcement agencies.  The concerned police officers should also be suspended over their to protect the lives of the protestors, he added.

Ahl-e-Sunnat Waljamaat

In a different protest, the Ahl-e-Sunnat Waljamaat chief Allama Aurangzaib Farooqui given the countrywide strike call on Friday. Addressing the protesters at Lasbella Chowk, he said they would not accept the acquittal of Aasia Bibi at any cost. “If the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri could let the decline of PML-N government, the acquittal of Aasia Bibi could also let the decline of the PTI government,” he added.

Allama Farooqui also condemned the ‘use of power’ on the protesters at Sindhi Hotel New Karachi.”Those who have given this judgment should be answerable on thousands of extra judicial killings as well as numerous cases which have been pending in the courts for several years,” the ASWJ demanded.

He announced that the ASWJ would observe countrywide strike on Friday, saying that by observing black day and strike, the people would pronounce their judgment.

Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba

Addressing the protest demonstration outside Islami College at New MA Jinnah Road organized by Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, the JI city chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman alleged that the verdict was given on patronage of the external forces not on merit. He said that they were ready to sacrifice their lives for the honor of our Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). “The rulers are enjoying luxuries that they had forgotten their responsibilities to address the demands of the masses,” Naeem added.

Jamiat Ulema Pakistan

The Jamiat Ulema Pakistan Noorani leader, while addressing the protestors, the Muslims would be compelled to take the law into own hands, if the judiciary does not change its attitude and taking action on blasphemy cases. There is law pertaining to blasphemy, and rulers along with other institutions should play its role to implement the same.

Pakistan Sunni Tehreek

The Pakistan Sunni Tehreek chief Sarwat Ajaz Qadri said that they always supported the Pakistan Army and they did not second the allegations labeled against judiciary and the Army.

In a telephonic discussion with the federal minister for religious affairs Noorul Huq Qadri, the PST chief termed the address of the Prime Minister Imran ‘aggressive’, saying that the matter should be resolved with dialogues. “Protest is the democratic right of the people and the government should avert the use of state machinery and aggression as this would give the negative effects,” Qadri added.

He went on to say that lacs of cases are pending in the country for many years but the ‘speedy’ trial of this case had cast several doubts on the judicial system.

Security plan devised

The law enforcement agencies devised the strategy to refrain the protesters from taking the law into hands, following a countrywide strike call today (Friday) given by 14 religious parties including Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan against the apex court’s verdict in blasphemy case.

Extra contingent of the law enforcers were deployed surrounding the protest sites to avoid any untoward incident. Law enforcement agencies have been asked to keep extra vigilant and prepare for the possible action against the protesters. Provincial police chief Dr Syed Kaleem Imam also directed the police officials concerned to strengthened the strategy to cope with any untoward situation.

“The anti-riots force, reserve platoons and special platoons should be kept ready,” he ordered.  He also ordered that the keep vigilance and strict monitoring of the suspected persons and miscreants should be made and actions should be taken timely against the miscreants.”

The IGP ordered to enhance security of the sensitive installations, Masajids, Imambargahs and worship places of non-Muslims. “All the SSPs should be within their areas and ensure the implementation of law and order within the respective areas,” he ordered. “The intelligence and vigilance system should be enhanced.” He also directed to enhance snap checking, patrolling and intelligence sharing across the province.