BAHAWALPUR/MIRPUR (AJK)/

SARGODHA/SIALKOT/GUJRANWALA

Various religious, political, trade and lawyers organisations took out protest rallies against the publication of blasphemous sketches made by a French magazine, here like other parts of the country and the world on Friday.

In Bahawalpur, one such protest rally started from Jamia Masjid Alsadiq and concluded at Chowk Bazaar, The protesters were carrying placards, banners and their respective party flags. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam organised the rally.

Hundreds of workers and office-bearers of the JUI participated in the rally. JUI Punjab Secretary General Mufti Mazhar Asadi, Jamaat Ahle Hadith Bahawalpur’s Ameer Muzaffar Ali, Sheikh Abdul Lateef, JUI Bahawalpur’s District General Secretary Shafqatur Rehman, Anjuman Tajraan’s representative Abdul Aleem and Ghulam Murtaza Usmani addressed the rally.

They said that the publication of disrespectful sketches has unfolded the intentions of Europe. They said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his visit to Saudi Arabia should call an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Countries on the issue and condemn the act of the media group. They said that also the Pak Army chief during his visit to Europe should record their protest against the act.

They said that the publication had hurt the feelings of the Muslims globally. “We are fighting the war on terrorism while the journalistic terrorism will make things difficult,” they added. The JI workers also staged protest and demanded that the government should take action against such acts and boycott French products. In the protest, civil society members also participated and demanded immediate closure of France Embassy in Pakistan and suspension of trade ties with the country.

Similarly, protest demonstrations sparked across AJK against the publication by the French magazine. Call for the agitation was made by various political, religious, social, lawyers, students, traders’ organisations.

In Mirpur, a large number of people thronged various city streets to join the protest rallies hosted by AJK chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami, District Bar Association, Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran, Markazi Milad Committee, Islami Jamiat-e-Tuleba to mark their severe indignation against the blasphemy.

The protest processions were taken out after Friday Prayers from Quaid-i-Azam Chowk, Naangi Shopping Centre and district courts premises. They marched through major city streets raising full-throat slogans against the French media and the anti-Islam forces for hurting the feelings of the Muslim Ummah through hatching conspiracies one after the other. All the processions later on turned into a mammoth rally at Shaheed Chowk.

Addressing the rally, speakers including Mirpur DBA President Khalid Rasheed Chaudhry Advocate, City Administrator Ghulam Rasool Awami, Sohail Shujah Mujahid, M Naeem, Raja Khalid Mahmood and Shoukat Chaudhry condemned the magazine, its editor and the concerned author for the attempt.

Similar protest rallies were held in the other parts of AJK. Addressing the rallies participated by hundreds of people belonging to diverse segments of the society, the speakers observed that anti-Islam material might cause more attack on the media office.

In Sialkot, the protesters strongly condemned the nasty practice in Jumma sermons, and passed several condemnation resolutions in this regard. They also announced to take out rallies in all the urban and rural areas of Sialkot district.

Thousands of the activists participated in the rallies taken out in Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial, Bhopalwala, Uggoki, Pasrur, Badiana, Chawinda and surrounding areas. The protesters were holding banners and placards and chanting slogans against the French magazine’s management.

The speakers urged the government to raise the issue at the international level. They criticised the West for carrying out and encouraging blasphemous acts. They urged the government of Pakistan to redefine its relations with France against the publication. The Ulema appealed the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) to raise the issue at the relevant forums.

In Gujranwala, Jamaat-e-Ahle Sunnat, Sunni Tehreek and Jamaat-e-Ahle Hadith staged demonstrations and took out rallies. The protests were led by Pir Muhammad Daud Rizvi, Muhammad Ikram Babar, Hafiz Muhammad Rafiq Qadri and Prof Saeed Klairwi.

They condemned the silence of Muslim rulers and OIC over the blasphemy attempts, and said if the OIC was unable to represent the sentiments of Muslim world it should be disbanded immediately and a new organization should be formed to protect the interests of the Muslims. They stressed the Muslims to sink their differences and forge unity in their ranks.

The Sargodha rally of Jamaat-e-Islami termed it a war against Islam by the French journal. It commenced from 47 Bridge and was led by its Ameer Zubair Ahmed Gondal, Dr Mubashir Ahmed, Haji Javeed Iqbal Cheema, M Farooq, Hafiz Farhan Ahmed, Prof Khalid Mehmood and Inamul Haq

The JI leaders said in their speeches that respect for and love with the Holy Prophet (SAWW) are the essential part of faith so no Muslim could bear even a single word against their Prophet (SAWW).