Strike in Karachi over clerics’ killing
KARACHI: A strike was being observed in Karachi on a call given by the Ahl-i-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) against the ongoing wave of sectarian killings on Friday, DawnNews reported.
Vehicular traffic remained sparse as public transport remained off the roads.
Markets, businesses and schools were closed.
CNG stations were shut for 24 hours across the province due to the load-shedding management system.
Incidents of rioting and gunfire were reported in Guru Mandir area of the city where some protestors burnt tyres and blocked the roads.
Rioters blocked the National Highway near Quaidabad’s Murghi Khana area and Sohrab Goth area of the city whereas Mauripur road was closed for traffic by protestors.
Protestors also set out to the streets near Dawood Chowrangi blocking traffic from Malir Cantt.
Two cars were torched in Kharadar area.
One person was killed by gunfire near Capri cinema on M A Jinnah road. Further details of the incident were not available until the filing of this report.
The shutdown call was given after a surge in the recent spate of target killings over sectarian grounds saw several clerics, affiliated with various religious sects, gunned down in the city.
The death toll on Thursday stood at 15 people, including two brothers and a doctor, were killed.
The doctor was reported to be a ‘sympathiser’ of the Ahl-i-Sunnat Wal Jamaat.
The call has been supported by over a dozen Sunni organisations and traders and transporters. In a rare gesture, the Shia Ulema Council also backed the strike call.
As the hearing of the Karachi suo-motu case continued in the Supreme Court, with the court disappointed with the performance of the city police, it seemed that religious parties were also not satisfied with the performance of the law-enforcement agencies. According to them, a strike is “the only way to protest against this menace”.
“The strike call is supported by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia, an organisation representing more than 10,000 seminaries and around 8,000 Iqra schools across the country, and five other organisations,” said Maulana Akbar Saeed Farooqi of the ASWJ.
“We all feel the pain of the brutality that has been going on in the city. Religious scholars and seminary students are also being targeted along the common people and no one knows the reason behind this menace. There is no doubt that the government has failed to protect lives of the common people and has thus lost the right to govern.”
He said that Friday’s strike was planned to get the ‘peaceful protest’ registered, and persuade the authorities to pay heed to the people’s concerns. No part of the country is facing ‘anarchy-like situation’ like Karachi, he added.
The most surprising announcement came from the Shia Ulema Council, supporting the ASWJ’s strike call while stressing that it would back every move made for peace and against terrorism.
“We have suffered the most in the recent wave of terrorism,” said Maulana Nazir Abbas Taqvi of the Shia Ulema Council. “We feel the same pain for those families whose loved ones fell prey to this madness, regardless of their sectarian association and their faith. Killing of every innocent man should be condemned by all sections.”
Maulana Taqvi said that the council supported the ‘shutdown appeal’ even though it had been made by the ASWJ and other Sunni organisations only to show its resolve against every kind of terrorism, especially in Karachi.
The Jamaat-i-Islami followed suit and its Karachi chief Muhammad Hussain Mehanti also announced in a statement issued on Thursday support for the ’peaceful strike’, and so did the traders’ and transport bodies, saying that they would support the strike call for ‘good reasons’.