ISLAMABAD - Unknown gunmen on Sunday shot dead a leader of Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) Rawalpindi Chapter, Mazhar Mehmood Siddiqui, near Pir Wadhai Morr. Later the party workers staged a sit-in in front of the Supreme Court to protest against ASWJ activists’ killings across the country.

Two motorcyclists opened fire at a motorcycle rickshaw Siddiqui (ASWJ Rawalpindi secretary information) and two other party workers - Muhammad Ibrahim and Sher Dil - were boarding, near Social Security Hospital in the limits of Sabzi Mandi Police of the federal capital.

All the three men sustained bullet wounds in the attack and Mazhar Siddiqui later succumbed to the injuries. The dead and the injured were taken to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS). Party workers assembled at the hospital and later at around 4pm, started their march along with the dead body towards the Supreme Court.

Prominent among the 450-500 protesters were Abdul Razaq Haideri, Ghulam Mustafa Baloch, Abdul Rehman Muavia and Sadaqat Abbassi. Police tried to stop the procession near Nadra headquarters but participants broke the cordon and forcibly reached in front of the Supreme Court building at the Constitution Avenue. Police used teargas shells while the protesters led by ASWJ Central Deputy Secretary General Masood ur Rehman Usmani pelted cops with stones as they marched towards the Constitution Avenue.

Later, they staged a sit-in in front of the Supreme Court along with dead body of Mazhar Mehmood Siddiqui and waited for party chief ‘Maulana’ Ahmad Ludhyanvi’s arrival over there. Police high ups including Islamabad IGP Tahir Alam Khan and senior officers of ICT administration remained present there throughout the course of action. The high ups tried to convince the protesters to end the sit-in but to no avail.

Later, Ahmad Ludhyanvi addressing the party workers demanded the government arrest the killers. He demanded that killers of Siddiqi and other party workers be hanged in the city squares. He observed that the incumbent government did nothing to protect party workers across the country who, he added, were being targeted one after the other.

He said the police were rather harassing them by raiding their residences. He said that over 200 party activists were still in ‘illegal’ custody of the law-enforcers across the country. He also asked the interior minister to stop what he described as wrong implementation of the 21st constitutional amendment.

Ludhyanvi said, “We have come to the Supreme Court for justice as the government has disappointed us.” He requested the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of the party workers’ killings. He said though the party activists were charged at after Sunday’s incident, however they will remain peaceful. He said despite the fact party leaders and activists are being targeted across the country, ASWJ would stand by the government in war against terrorism.

Later, adviser to Prime Minister Irfan Siddiqui negotiated with the protesters and convinced them to end the sit-in. Ludhyanvi assured the adviser that they will leave the venue after offering funeral prayer of the deceased leader. Sabzi Mandi Police registered the FIR (75/2015) under section 302, 324 against two unidentified motorcyclists for targeting the ASWJ leaders.

Staff Reporter from Karachi adds: Scores of ASWJ workers and supporters staged a protest demonstration at Quaidabad on Sunday against the withdrawal of security protocol to party’s central leader Aurengzeb Farooqui, who was attacked just a day before while coming from a program in Korangi’s Zia Colony at midnight. Unknown gunmen opened fire at him from the bridge opposite Swedish College, however, Farooqui remained unhurt.

ASWJ leader’s police protocol – one police mobile and eight cops – was withdrawn as a result of protest demonstration by civil society and others in the first week of February outside the Sindh Chief Minister House against the security protocol to ASWJ leaders.

The party protesters on Sunday blocked the busy roundabout for traffic by burning tyres, resulting in massive traffic jam at Quaidabad and the routes leading to it. They chanted slogans against the government and the civil society members demanding to disarm the banded extremist organizations, particularly those which continue to operate under new names.