World | Pakistan

Karachi paralysed by Quetta killing protest

Thousands stage sit-in vowing they won’t rest until killers are arrested, sentenced

  • By Mohammad Ashraf, Correspondent
  • Published: 17:46 February 18, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Reuters
  • Shi’ite Muslims shout slogans as they protest near the covered bodies (not in picture) of Saturday’s bomb attack victims during a sit-in in Quetta on Monday. Pakistani Shi’ites furious over a sectarian bombing that killed 85 people protested on Monday, demanding that security forces protect them from hardline Sunni groups.

Karachi: This port city remained widely shut on Monday on the strike call of Shiites who staged sit-in at dozens of different spots all across the city to protest against the massacre of more than 84 people including many children who were bombed in Quetta at the weekend.

Relatives of the victims refused to bury their loved ones until the army takes action against the militants targeting the minority sect.

They also blocked the roads towards airport, and the police had to fire tear gas shells and aerial firing to disperse the protesters as a large number of passengers were stuck at the airport and the cabin crews were not able to reach for their scheduled duties.

The strike was called by Shia Ulema Council, a union of many Shiites organisations, to condemn the attach and demand arrest of those responsible for the bomb attack, the deadliest in the recent days, which left more than 200 people injured besides devastating the surrounding buildings at the Alamdar Road.

In Quetta as well thousands of Shiite and Hazara community members were staging sit-in on the Alamdar Road and the surrounding areas vowing they would not call it a day unless the killers were arrested and sentenced.

The protesters were demanding deployment of army in the city, which was already being ruled by the governor after the government was sacked last month over an equally powerful attack on Hazaras that left more than a 100 dead and many more injured.

The provincial government of Balochistan and Sindh also announced mourning the death of Hazara Shiite community, who were the key target of the bomb that weighed hundreds of kilograms.

On the appeal of Pakistani Bar Council, the Karachi Bar Association also supported the strike and the lawyers boycotted the proceedings of Sindh High Court as well as the district and session courts in the city. The chief justice of Sindh High Court discharged all the courts in view of the strike of the lawyers.

Transporters, traders, school associations also remained closed because of the strike as the traders and transporters announced their support to the strike.

A spokesman of Federal Urdu University announced postponement of the ongoing examination from the Gulshane Iaqbal and Abdul Haq campuses of the university. Goods transporters also decided to stay off the road and thus thousands of truck remained stationed at different trucking points.

The Shiite community started staging the sit-in since Sunday night at more than a dozen places at the city. They also blocked the railway track at Malir thus paralysing the railway operation.

The protesters were demanding immediate arrest of the killers and murderers of the Shiite community.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf have condemned the attack on the Hazara community.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain demanded ending of an organised killings of Hazara community and demanded the government to arrest the terrorist responsible for the devastating attack.

 

 

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