QUETTA/ PESHAWAR/ ISLAMABAD/ LAHORE/ KARACHI:
Indignant, and at places violent, protests erupted in many cities of the country as enraged people took to the streets following the brutal suicide attacks at the All Saints’ Church in Peshawar.
The Christians in Peshawar staged protests at the GT Road, blocking it for hours three times, intermittently. Staging a sit-in, the protesters put on the road the coffins of the victims, which were later removed on the instruction of the leaders of the community.
Angry mob chanted slogans against the provincial and federal governments, and hurled stones at vehicles on the road.
Another unruly mob attacked the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), breaking the windowpanes of the emergency section.
In Karachi, the protesters blocked Shahrah-e-Faisal, Shahrah-e-Pakistan and University Road. They burnt tyres and blocked the traffic.
Unidentified persons threw stones on the passing vehicles. Massive traffic jams were observed in various localities. The protestors set two motorcycles on fire. Intense aerial firing was also reported.
The protestors clashed with the police who tried to disperse them and restore traffic. Over a dozen suspects were detained by the police for causing a law and order situation.
In Lahore, large number of protestors, carrying placards and banners, poured on the roads. They blocked the traffic and burnt tyres. Later, they stormed the central track of the metro service, and this forced the bus service to suspend operation.
In the twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad, hundreds of people staged massive protests at different locations. They were holding banners and placards with inscriptions demanding arrest of the culprits.
In Quetta, the Masihi Qaumi Ittehad (MQI) members launched a protest at the main Kansi Road. They burnt tyres and blocked the traffic.
“We condemn this dastardly act in the strongest terms,” said Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (PCBC) President Archbishop Joseph Coutts in a statement, terming the attack“a shameful act of cowardice”.
Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC) President Dr Nazir S Bhatti expressed grave concern on not providing emergency medical aid to hundreds of children, women and men injured in the suicide bombing.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2013.