KARACHI – On the call of multiple Shia organisations, complete strike was observed in the metropolis against the genocide of Shia Muslims across the country, especially killing of 115 people in Quetta bomb blast.

Moreover, the strike was also observed to condemn the lethargic behaviour of the government towards the escalating sectarian violence.

The strike was also supported by Muttahida Qaumi Movement. All the business activities were remain suspended as complete shutter down was seen in the City. On the other hand, transporters also supported the cause of the strike by keeping their vehicles away from the roads. The strike call was made on late Sunday night at Numaish Chowrangi by the leaders of Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen along with leaders of Shia Ulema Council.

MWM ENDS SIT-IN: Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen on Monday announced ending of Karachi-based Shias’ sit-in in various parts of the metropolis after Hazara Shia community and Milli Yakjehti Council ended the four-day long sit-in in Quetta city after having successful negotiation with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. 

The sit-in protests were culminated after the federal government imposed the Governor Rule in Balochistan. The central sit-in protest, staged at Numaish Chowrangi, MA Jinnah Road for 48 hours, was culminated after the Zuhrain Namaz. The sit-in protests were staged at various points in Karachi. Protest was started on Saturday evening and ended on Monday afternoon. The protest was staged to express solidarity with unfortunate families of the bomb blast victims and those who were staging sit-in against massacre of Alamdar Road.

Thousands of women, children, youths and elderly Shia Muslims gathered at the sits-in staged simultaneously at Numaish Chowrangi, Shahrah-e-Pakistan, Incholi, Gulshan-e-Maymar Super Highway, National Highway Malir, Natha Khan Goth, Colony Gate, Star Gate, Korangi Industrial Area Road, Landhi Babar Market, Steel Town, Nazimabad, University Road, North Nazimabad main roads, Gulistan-e-Jauhar and Bilawal House (the camp office of the President of Pakistan) and at other places which virtually paralysed the City.

To support the demands of the bomb blast victims, the central sit-in was being held at Numaish Chowrangi, MA Jinnah Road, organised by multiple Shia organisations, including the MWM. The Shia leaders at the protest vowed to continue their protest till the federal government accept the legal demands of the bereaved families of Quetta bomb blast victims.    

“Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jafri, chief of MWM had appealed to 50 million Shias not to sit at home and lodge their protest coming out of their houses,” Maulana Sadiq Raza Taqvi, secretary general of the MWM, told the protestors at Numaish Chowrangi. Shia Muslims came out of the houses to participate in the sits-in responding positively to the call of Allama Jafri.

“The countrywide sit-ins were continued till the demands were met altogether,” vowed MWM leader Sadiq Raza Taqvi. MWM leaders Allama Shaikh Hassan Salahuddin, Maulana Rajab Ali Bangash, Maulana Aqeel Abbas Sadiqi, Maulana Ali Mohammad, Maulana Jafar Raza, Maulana Karimi, Professor Shaista Zaidi and Khanam Zahra Najafi spoke and condemned the callousness of the government. Allama Nazir Abbas Taqvi of Shia Ulema Council, Maulana Hassan Salahuddin of the MWM and Hassan Abidi of Imamia Students Organisation spoke at Malir National Highway.

POLITICIANS, INCLUDING PERVEZ MUSHARRAF ADDRESS PROTESTORS: Leaders of various political organisations have participated in the sit-in and expressed their views during the protest.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s officials Dr Merajul Huda, Hussain Mehanti, Nasraullah Shaji, Naeemur Rehman and Sarfaraz Ahmed expressed their solidarity with the Shia Muslims. They said that they and MWM were part of Milli Yakjehti Council. The JI officials supported the demand of Army control over Quetta

MQM Rabita Committee Deputy Convener Dr. Farooq Sattar, Waseem Aftab, Wasay Jalil also visited the site of the sit in and extended their full party support in their speeches. On the other hand, APML chief General (r) Pervez Musharruf also delivered telephonic speech on the occasion. Senior politician Meraj Khan, National Party’s Ayub Qureshi, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Asad Iqbal Butt and others also spoke at Numaish Chowangi’s sit-in. They vowed that whole Pakistan has turned up in support of oppressed Shia Muslims.

CITIZENS PROVIDE FOOD IN BIG QUANTITY: Keeping in mind the problems of the protestors, sitting in the protest for the last two days and cold nights, Karachiites have come out of their houses and activated their social circles to arrange food and beverages to facilitate the protestors.

Talking to The Nation, a member of civil society said that this was the first time that he saw a large number of Pakistani politicians and citizens got united on one agenda to support the cause and demands of the bereaved families of Quetta bomb blast victims. This showed that Pakistanis are united but some hidden forces in the country are supporting extremists for the sake of their vested interests.    

PPP MINISTERS MANHANDLED BY PEOPLE AT BILAWAL HOUSE: Hundreds of protestors also held a sit-in protest outside Bilawal House, where Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari and other leaders of PPP who are residing there after leaving Islamabad following the threats of Dr Tahirul Qadri’s long march.

Allama Talib Johri, Maulana Shabbir Meesmi and Maulana Karimi spoke to the protestors. During the protest, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon and Sindh Senior Minster Pir Mazharul Haq was manhandled by angry mob when they were trying to call on the protestors. 

MWM Leader Maulana Sadiq Raza Taqvi made a telephone call to Sharjeel Memon and condemned the incident. He said that the manhandling incident was a conspiracy by the miscreants to sabotage the cause of the protest.

TRAIN SERVICE RESUMED AFTER 26 HOURS: Train service resumed after 26 hours, when people who had besieged rail track against the killing of innocent people in Quetta lifted their barricades. However, a large number of passengers including thousands of families braved immense hardships.

The railway track was occupied on Sunday afternoon by the protesters near Malir-15 intersection. The Pakistan Railway immediately suspended the train service due to security concern until the clearance of tracks. About one dozen passenger trains were stopped at different railway stations for the safety of passengers. On Monday at 3:00pm, the track blockage was lifted and tormented stranded passengers breathed sigh of relief after a 26-hour long nightmare.