Protesting leader’s murder: ASWJ workers run amok in capital

Activists to stage sit-in on Islamabad Highway today.


Workers of the ASWJ burn tyres at Aabpara to condemn killing of their leader in Lahore. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID

ISLAMABAD:


Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ) has announced its members will stage a sit-in on the Islamabad Highway at Faizabad on Saturday morning to protest the killing of its provincial leader in Lahore.


Followers of the ASWJ, a religious group, made the announcement during a protest rally at the Aabpara Chowk on Friday evening. The ASWJ members rallied at Aabpara Chowk around 5pm to condemn the killing of Maulana Shamsur Rehman, the ASWJ’s Punjab president, who was murdered in Lahore on Friday afternoon. Right after the protesters began to converge at the square, the Aabpara market’s traders shuttered their shops.

The stick-wielding protesters remained peaceful for the most part, during the two hours they remained at the square. But some of them took out their frustration on cars and damaged vehicles, lashing at them with sticks.

They also chanted slogans, burnt a couple of tyres and blocked roads leading to the square before the police arrived at the scene and took control of the security cordon. However, officials stood safely at a distance and did not intervene to make a safe passage for the cars and drivers trapped on Khayaban-e-Suhrawardy for well over an hour.

Leaders of the party demanded the government to arrest Rehman’s killers within 24 hours and announced they launch protests nationwide depending upon the decision of ASWJ’s senior leadership.

Islamabad Capital Territory Deputy Commissioner Mujahid Sher Dil, Senior Superintendent of Police Muhammad Rizwan, Assistant Superintendent of Police Yasir Afridi and other police and administration officials reached the spot and negotiated with the ASWJ leaders for peaceful dispersal of the protesters.

Around 60 police officials were deployed around Aabpara to secure the location and prevent any untoward incident, a police official said.

The Kashmir Highway and roads leading to Aabpara Chowk remained closed for over two hours, until the demonstrators started dispersing for Isha prayers around 7pm.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2013.

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