Hundreds of enraged members of the Shia community held a rally after Friday prayers to observe Quds Day, expressing solidarity with the Palestinians and opposing Zionism and Israel’s control of Jerusalem. However the recent killings of 19 Shias in the Naran area became the main focus of the protest.
The participants of the rally demanded a military operation against terrorists in North Waziristan, Kohistan and adjacent areas of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) where Shias were killed in terrorist attacks. They also held security agencies responsible for the Babusar top incident.
The participants of the rally were holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans denouncing the US imperialism, Israel and terrorism. The rally was organised by Majlis-e-Wahadat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) and Imamia Students Organization (ISO) and started from central imambargah in G-6/2 before culminating at D-Chowk.
However, long traffic jams were witnessed on various roads due to the roadblocks placed at various points of the city. Roads were blocked as far away as Sector G-10. Some drivers thought it best to use temporary detours on the under-construction highway, which only exacerbated the situation when they were forced to merge back with stationary traffic on the main road. Some others also tried driving against the flow of traffic on the shoulder, only to further compound the traffic mess.
Even though the procession had ended when this report was filed at 5:30pm, traffic continued to move slowly. Not a single traffic warden or policeman was present on the road at the time.
(With additional reporting by Bilal Iqbal)
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2012.