In contrast to the mayhem of Friday, protests against the blasphemous film remained peaceful in the capital on Saturday.
The students of Jamia Hafsa, a religious seminary of women attached with the Red Mosque, came out in great numbers on Saturday, but remained entirely peaceful. Supporters of Minhajul Quran (MuQ), a religious organisation headed by Maulana Tahirul Qadri, too held a peaceful protest.
The two rallies combined were as big in number as those of students and traders unions’ on Friday, but they starkly differed in attitude. While the latter inflicted damages of at least Rs2 million to public property in the city, the former went almost unnoticed by the residents.
MuQ supporters, including women and children, gathered at Liaquat Bagh Rawalpindi, holding banners and flags and chanting slogans against what they called the US government’s inaction over the anti-Islam movie.
Almost 3,000 people marched towards Islamabad. Some more joined them from rural areas of the city at the Aabpara intersection.
Passing through Islamabad Expressway, they converged at D-Chowk where Advocate Abrar Raza, the district president of MuQ, and Muhammad Raees, the MuQ provincial administrator, addressed the rally.
“The US government should take severe action against the maker of the movie and all those who supported him, as it hurt the sentiments of Muslims across the world,” Raees said, while addressing the protesters.
The protesters remained peaceful on their way in and out of the city when they finally dispersed after staying at D-Chowk for over two hours.
Burqa-clad students of Jamia Hafsa and women from local areas of sector G-6 and G-7-3/2 gathered at the seminary’s site and marched towards the Red Mosque. A police official said they were more than 4,000 in number.
The women converged at Red Mosque where Ume Hasaan, the principal of the seminary and the wife of the chief cleric of Red Mosque Maulana Abdul Aziz, addressed the rally.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2012.