LAHORE: Members of the Sunni Tehreek clashed with police at the Mall Road on Monday, while protesting against Mumtaz Qadri’s death sentence in Lahore, reported Express 24/7.
Sunni Tehreek, which is a part of Tahaffuz Namoos-i-Risalat Mahaz— a wing consisting of eight different religious groups— started the protest march from Data Darbar accompanied with a heavy deployment of police.
According to Express 24/7 correspondent Rabia Mehmood, there were about 450-500 supporters of Qadri at the protest. The police shelled the protesters who were pelting stones as a part of their protest.
Mehmood reported that the protesters staged a sit-in and have refused to end the protest.
Earlier, the police were put on high alert to counter possible riots following the death sentence imposed on Qadri. Over the weekend several right-wing political parties and religious groups rallied against the verdict to hang Qadri and some of them have threatened further protests.
Officials in law enforcement agencies said the police were alerted after intelligence suggested that organisations such as Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), an umbrella outfit for several dozen Barelvi outfits, were planning protests that may turn violent, especially in Punjab.
The SIC and Tahaffuz Namoos-i-Risalat Mahaz also announced that they would mark October 7 as a “black day” and organise protests all over the country.
The Lahore High Court recently banned rallies on The Mall after traders who work in the area moved a petition complaining that the protests hurt their businesses.
On Saturday, stick-wielding protestors roamed the markets on The Mall and pressed the traders to shut their stores, according to trader groups.
An anti-terrorism court (ATC) sentenced Qadri to death on Saturday on two counts for the murder of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer. The self-confessed killer’s defence pleas, which invoked religious sentiments and argued the accused was provoked into the act, were dismissed by the court.
Qadri was employed as one of the governor’s bodyguards when he shot Taseer dead in Islamabad on January 4.