KARACHI: Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), formerly known as outlawed Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, has warned the government that it will stage a sit-in for an indefinite period of time if the men who have targeted the group’s workers are not arrested soon.
The flow of traffic in some areas of Karachi was disturbed on Sunday as ASWJ’s leaders, workers and supporters came out onto the roads to protest against an attack on its 12 Rabiul Awwal procession in Khairpur.
The areas affected by the protests included Lea Market, Lasbela Chowk, Daud Chowrangi and Banaras. Shouting slogans against the target killers as well as the government and law enforcement agencies, the protesters barricaded the roads. An extra contingent of law enforcers had to be deployed to ensure that law and order would not deteriorate in the areas where the protests had been organised.
The main one was held at Nagan Chowrangi where ASWJ’s central leader Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi delivered a speech via telephone. The leader criticised the government, saying that it has failed completely to stop attacks on ASWJ’s men.
He also termed the sectarian conflict in the city a conspiracy hatched by the country’s enemies.
Maualana Farooqui claimed that over 300 men belonging to the ASWJ were killed in the last year while a dozen more have been targeted this month, but the law enforcers had not arrested the culprits and the government had not given any compensation to the victims’ families.
He said that the group’s patience was now running thin and the protests would be stepped up if the government didn’t give in to their demands.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2013.