ASWJ ends protests after talks with authorities
QUETTA: Activists of Ahle Sunnat Waljamaat (ASWJ) late on Friday ended their sit-ins in Quetta and Karachi after successful conclusion of talks with the authorities, DawnNews reported.
The sit-ins were staged against security forces operation to arrest its workers in Quetta.
Security agencies had launched a targeted operation against ASWJ and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) when more than 90 people, mostly Hazara Shias, lost their lives in a blast in Quetta’s Hazara Town on Feb 16.
It was the second most deadly attack this year on the ethnic minority following a Jan 10 bombing at a snooker club in the city which killed over 100 people.
The LeJ had claimed responsibility of the Feb 16 Kirani Road attack.
The ASWJ activists shouted slogans against the arrests of their fellow workers as they staged sit-ins in Quetta and Karachi.
The announcement of ending protests was made after prolonged talks with the home secretary Balochistan and the CCPO Quetta, in which it was agreed that cases would be registered against personnel of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) involved in arresting the ASWJ activists.
Subsequently sit-ins in Karachi were also called off upon receiving reports of successful conclusion of the talks.
Meanwhile, angry mobs took to the streets in Karachi’s Sohrab Goth and Malir City areas. Shops and small businesses were reportedly shut after the uproar.
In a related development, LeJ leader Malik Ishaq was detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law on the orders of the Punjab provincial government in Rahim Yar Khan.
Ishaq is said to be one of the founders of the LeJ, which is accused of sectarian violence and has claimed several attacks on the ethnic Hazara Shia population in Balochistan.
Attacks targeting Shias in Pakistan have claimed almost 200 lives already this year. Human Rights Watch said more than 400 were killed in 2012, the deadliest on record for Shias.