SIALKOT/BAHAWALPUR/MUZAFFARGARH/HAFIZABAD/GUJRANWALA-Thousands of highly charged people, including activists of almost all the religious parties participated in rallies and marched on inter-city roads after Jumma prayers to vent off anger and disappointment against the apex court decision, acquitting blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi.

Traders also observed a shutter-down and wheel-jam strike called across the country to press the demand for review of the Supreme Court's decision.

Thousands of outraged people staged protest and sit-ins in Sialkot, Daska , Sambrial, Pasrur, Zafarwal, Shakargarh, Narowal and surrounding areas.

They also kept traffic blocked on all main roads including Sialkot-Daska-Gujranwala Road, Sialkot-Pasrur-Narowal Road, Sialkot-Sambrial-Wazirabad Road, Sialkot-Head Marala Road by staging sit-ins at various main spots on these roads.

The protesting activists also set up blockades on these main roads by burning tyres and placing big sized containers, trucks and tractor-trolleys. They also chanted slogans against PTI government and the apex court in this regard.

They also pledged to sacrifice their lives for Tuhafuz-e-Namoos-e-Risaalat (SAWW), urging the government not to test patience of the nation.

Earlier, the Ulema (belonging to all the sects), strongly criticized the PTI government and apex judiciary for acquitting Aasia Bibi of blasphemy charges.

The Ulema also unanimously passed several condemnation resolutions during Jumma sermons, asking the government and the supreme court to review the verdict as it will leave a negative impact on the mind of non-Muslims and they will be embolden to commit blasphemy without fear.

BUSINESSES REMAIN

SUSPENDED

In Sialkot, all business and trade activities remained suspended for the third consecutive day here on Friday due to the shutter down strike announced to protest against the acquittal of Aasia Maseeh in blasphemy case.

In Sialkot, traders observed a completed shutter down strike on the appeal of Markazi Anjuman Tajraan Sialkot. All bazaars, markets, commercial hubs of Sialkot and shops remained closed.

The protesting traders staged at protest at Allama Iqbal Chowk Sialkot. President Markazi Anjuman Tajraan Sialkot Mehar Ghulam Mujtaba and General Secretary Ehsanul Haq Butt jointly led this protest.  Later, the traders also unanimously passed a condemnation resolution, demanding withdrawal of the SC verdict.

The strike has caused a great financial loss of billions of rupees in Sialkot during the last three days, said the local traders.

SUSPENSION OF TRANSPORT HURT TRADE

Trade links of Sialkot district suspended with rest of the country due to the prevailing massive protests in different cities.

Supply of export and import consignments, worth billions of rupees, remained stranded for third day consecutive day, causing financial loss of billions of rupees to exporters and traders of the golden export triangle comprising three neighbouring Sialkot, Gujrat and Gujranwala industrial districts.

Supply of fresh milk, vegetables and fruits also remained suspended for the third consecutive day to local markets which caused severe shortage.

Reportedly, trucks containing fresh vegetables and fruits, remained stranded in road blockades established protesters in Sialkot region.

Most of fruits and vegetables, packed in containers and trucks, were perishing, causing loss of millions of rupees besides creating shortage of vegetables and fruits in local markets here.

SCHOOLS, COLLEGES

REMAIN SHUT

All the government and private schools, colleges and universities remained closed for the second consecutive day on Friday by the order of the Punjab government in a bid to avert any untoward incident here.

JI UP AGAINST AASIA

ACQUITTAL

In Bahawalpur, Jamaat-e-Islami Bahawalpur organised a protest rally under the leadership of its District Ameer Syed Zeeshan Akhtar against the release of Aasiya Maseeh. The rally started from Jamaat-i-Islami office and reached Fareed Gate.

While addressing the rally, Syed Zeeshan Akhtar said that Supreme Court should constitute its full bench for review of the verdict, accused that such verdicts were expected from a government which came into power with international agenda.

He said that verdict regarding release of Aasiya Bibi from blasphemy charges is equal to hurting the sentiments of Pakistan and Muslim world.

He said that the government lawyer intentionally held back evidence and weakened the case, he claimed, adding that to stop the public reaction government has put a ban on the freedom of expressing opinion.

He said that on the name of change west and jews are promoted, he declared that Muslims will never tolerate blasphemy.

GUJRANWALA WITNESSES

PROTESTS

In Gujranwala, different religious parties including Jamaat-i-Islami, Sunni Tehreek, Jamaat Razai-e-Mustafa, Tanzem-i-Islami and others parties staged protests at GT Road and took out rallies against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case.

The protesters chanted slogans against the apex court's decision and demanded early hanging of Asia. On the other hand, hundreds of TLYRA activists continued their sit-in at Qila Chand Bypass and kept the traffic block, numerous problems for the public coming from different cities.

JI, JUI-F, OTHERS

STAGE PROTEST

In Muzaffargarh, activists of religious parties took out rallies against acquittal of Aasia Bibi, demanding the Supreme Court of Pakistan to review its verdict and ensure stern punishment to the blasphemy accused.

Activists of Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F) and other religious parties took out a rally from Jamia Masjid and the participants reached Fayaz Park where it converted into a procession.

Various renowned religious scholars addressed the procession. JI District Ameer Prof Iftikhar Ahmad Hashmi declared that every Muslim is the slave of Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW) and would never hesitate to lay down life for protecting sanctity and finality of Last Prophet (SAWW).

In his address, Maulana Abdul Majeed Tauheedi, Salar-e- Punjab Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, said that Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW) is the beloved and last prophet of Allah SWT and no any act that dishonour or compromise sanctity and finality of Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) would be tolerated.

They urged the Supreme Court should review its verdict to end the unrest stirred up among the Muslim Umah. No leader of Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah participated in the procession. Such protests were in Kot Addu, Ehsanpur, Alipur, Sheher Sultan, Jatoi, Chowk Sarwar Shaheed, Gujrat, Langar Sarai and Rangpur.

Muzaffargarh DPO Imran Kishwar monitored security arrangements made for the protests and a large number police personnel were deployed to guard, which was assisted by Elite Force personnel who remained patrolling the areas.

NO COMPROMISE ON

FINALITY OF PROPHET

In Hafizabad, Ulema of different schools of thoughts during their Friday sermons expressed anger and resentment over the acquittal of convict Aasia Bibi and declared that Muslims of the country would not tolerate to convert the country, created in the name of Islam, as secular State and pledged to lay their lives for the protection of Namoos-i-Rasalat.

They said that there would be no compromise on the finality of Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW). They regretted that the present rulers are playing in the hands of Zionists and anti-Islam forces due to which anarchy and chaotic situation have been created in the country.

They further said that all the religious parties believe in interfaith harmony and stressed upon the audience to remain peaceful.

They took out rallies from almost all the mosques after Jumma prayers, raising slogans against the decision of the Supreme Court and later assembled in Fawara Chowk where Chief of Jamaat Al-Suffa Pakistan Barrister Syed Waseemul Hassan Naqvi; Ameer Jamaat-i-Islami Prof Muhammad Ayub Tahir; district leader Ameer Amanullah Chattha; Jamiat Ahle Hadith Maulana Nasrullah Khan Bhatti and Muhammad Ibrahim Alvi, Ulema of Jamaat Ahle Sunnat Allama Faisal Kailani, Rana Muhammad Asghar Chishti, Maulana Badarul Zaman Tarar, Maulana Ahmad Raza Madni, Allama Ashraf Sial, Sunni Tehreek leader Syed Usman Shah Naqvi, JUI-F leader Allam Ahmad Saeed Awan and Hafiz Allah Ditta Sajid addressed hundreds of activists and appealed them to remain peaceful.

They demanded dismissal of all judges who acquitted her and hanging of the convict Aasia. They pledged that they would continue set-ins in the city till acceptance of their demands.

Heavy police including riot squad remained present in Fawara Chowk to prevent any unpleasant incident. Rallies were also taken out in other towns of the district.

No untoward incident was reported from any place of the district till the filing of the report.

The inter-city traffic remained suspended most of the time on different routes and the commuters faced great hardships and ordeal to reach their destination.

More than 50 Sikh Yatrees who remained stranded at Pindi Bhattian due to closure of motorway were air-lifted by helicopters to Lahore.