RAWALPINDI - Hundreds of activists of Ahl-e-Sunat Wal Jamaat and seminary students Monday staged protest demonstrations and sit-ins against the arrest of clerics, Ulema and traders’ representatives by the law enforcement agencies during raids to sabotage the two days conference announced by clerics of Darul Aloom Taleem-ul-Quran in Raja Bazaar.

The protest call was given by ASWJ. The protest demos and sit-ins were held at Chuhur Chowk on Peshawar Road, Liaquat Bagh on Murree Road and Dhoke Kala Khan on Islamabad Expressway. However, police shattered the plan of ASWJ activists of holding a protest demo at Faizabad by nabbing 30 protestors.

Holding placards and banners, wearing green pieces of cloths, mentioning Kalma and slogans against the government and LEAs, the protestors blocked roads for traffic by torching old tyres and demanded earlier arrest of perpetrators involved in DATQ massacre on November 15.  During the entire episode, a gigantic traffic snarl triggered in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and the commuters and pedestrians faced a lot of troubles. According to details, more than 450 Ulema and seminary students staged a protest demo at Chuhur Chowk blocking Peshawar Road. They torched tyres and chanted slogans against Punjab government and police for lifting the Ulema and traders and civilians in series of dawn raids.

ASWJ leader Pir Aziz-ur-Rehman Hazarvi, Wefaq-ul-Madaris Pakistan Secretary General Maulana Qazi Abul Rasheed, Maulana Abdul Ghaffar Toheedi, Maulana Qari Ateeq-ur-Rehman and Mufti Awais Aziz were prominent among the protestors, who, while speaking, vehemently condemned police action.

They said that the Chehlum procession of Hazarat Imam Hussain (RA) would never be allowed to pass through Raja Bazaar. They said that the government could not press the voice of ASWJ by using tactics. They said that innocent Ulema, traders and members of civil society have been arrested by police during raids at their houses.

Talking to The Nation, Action Committee DATQ incident spokesman Mufti Awais Aziz said that police arrested more than three dozens Ulema and traders during raids conducted at Raja Bazaar, Faizabad, Gulzar-e-Quaid, Airport Society and Misrial.

“Mufti Abdul Rehman, Mufti Munir Muhavia, Maulana Bilal Umer, Maulana Awais Huqani and Maulana Farooq were among the detainees,” he informed. He said that the government promised reforms in the wake of the Ashura violence but later it took U-turn by handcuffing the Ulema.

He termed police brutality against Ulema a step towards destruction and clashes in the city. Allowing the Chehlum procession passing through Raja Bazaar would be tantamount to disgracing the martyrs of DATQ. He said if the government succeeded in barring them from holding conference with force then the situation would be out of control after Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). He demanded earlier release of all detainees.

Reportedly, the LEAs arrested more than 30 protestors of ASWJ who gathered near Faizabad to hold a protest demonstration. The detainees were shifted to undisclosed location, a source said.