Civil society members in Peshawar took to the streets on Tuesday to press for a ban on the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, an umbrella grouping of the politico-religious right, arguing that its members were responsible for up to three million deaths.
“Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Gul and his partners are responsible for the massacre of three million people, in particular the Pashtuns,” alleged Idrees Kamal, convener of the Aman Tehreek – a conglomerate of the civil society. Kamal was speaking at a protest organised in the Hashtnagri area of Peshawar.
It first seemed that the civil society was unwilling to raise voice against the DPC, which had earlier conducted rallies in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi. However, the rally which was to be held in Peshawar on March 18, has caused quite a stir in the city.
“Previously, the council had gathered under different names, killing thousands of innocent people. Now they are here to repeat the same,” alleged a speaker at the protest.
Protesters demanded that Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry intervene and impose a ban on the DPC. They also said that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti should not allow the council to hold a rally in the city.
The protest had been organised despite security threats and was attended by people from all walks of life.
Meanwhile, the DPC rallies to be held in Peshawar and Quetta later this month have been postponed. In a meeting of the central and provincial members of the DPC in Peshawar, it was decided that the Peshawar rally to be held on March 18 will now be held on April 15. Spokesperson of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) and Darul-Uloom Haqqania, Maulana Syed Muhammad Yousuf Shah told The Express Tribune that the reason for the postponement was a cricket match between India and Pakistan.
A statement issued by the JUI-S stated that the council had decided to hold a protest to express ‘Solidarity with Balochistan’ which will be held at Chowk Yadgar in the heart of Peshawar. While the DPC rally which was to be held in Quetta on April 12 will now be held on April 26.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2012.
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