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Crippling Strike In Karachi

15 April, 2006

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KARACHI: Life in the metropolis came to a halt on Friday in response to a strike call made by Sunni Tehrik, Jammat Ahl-e-Sunnat and other religious parties in protest against the killing of around 50 people, including prominent religious leaders in a blast at an Eid Milad-un-Nabi (SA) congregation at Nishter park on Tuesday.

The strike call was supported by the six-party religious alliance, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), and other opposition parties.

All major commercial centres, markets and shops remained closed and roads wore a deserted look as most of the public transport remained off the road.

In the afternoon, however, some shops in different localities were opened and a few public transport vehicles appeared on roads.

Most of the offices, bank branches and industrial units in the city remained closed.

Heavy contingents of police and Rangers were deployed across the city to cope with any eventuality. Police personnel using mobile vans and motorbikes kept on patrolling different areas whole the day while a number of temporary police pickets were set up in different localities to keep an eye on subversive elements.

No major untoward incident relating to the strike was reported till the filing of this report. The overall law and order situation, police said, was peaceful.

A visit to the different areas showed that all main markets and commercial centres remained closed. They included commercial centres in Saddar and Empress Market which wore a deserted look. The streets of Bohri Bazaar, otherwise crowded, were without people. Similarly was the situation in Express Market, Soldier Bazaar, Electronics Market, Zaibunnisa Street, Regal Chowk, Zainab Market, Tariq Road, Hyderi, KDA Market (Gulshan-i-Iqbal), as well as markets and bazaars in Liaquatabad, North Nazimabad and Federal B Area where no shop was open.

Markets and shops in the old city areas of Lyari, Keamari and SITE did not open till the evening. Upcountry transport ferrying passengers and goods did not operate.

Almost all city transport operators kept their vehicles off the road and people were faced with great hardship in reaching their destination.

Attendance in public and private organizations remained thin. The Sindh government had already announced holiday in all public and private sector universities, colleges and schools. All the exams scheduled for the day had already been postponed by the public and private sector educational institutions.

Trading at the Fruit and Vegetable Market (New Sabzi Mandi) was badly affected by the strike. A member of market committee said that supplies from the interior of Sindh reached the mandi but the turnout of customers appeared quite low, hampering the trading activity badly.

The strike also affected port activity due to the non-availability of transport vehicles in adequate number.

Some bakeries were opened early in the morning but closed after a few hours. Most petrol pumps in the area remained closed for most of the day.

Long queues of vehicles were seen outside a few petrol pumps, which remained open during the strike.

Meanwhile in Lahore Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan observed protest day to condemn the martyrdom of innocent people and leadership of Tehreek Sunnat Pakistan in a bomb blast at Karachi Nisther Park public meeting on the eve of Miladun Nabi the other day.

Protest demonstrations held outside mosques and offices of the component parties of MMA across Pakistan were addressed by the local leaders who in their speeches unanimously held General Pervez Musharraf responsible for the blast as his polices have exposed the country to world conspiracies and made the life of common man insecure.

In this connection a big demonstration was held in Lahore outside Jamaat-e-Islami’s headquarters Mansoorah after Friday prayer. The demonstration, led by JI naib ameer Hafiz Mohammad Idris, was largely attended by JI workers and common people. Protestors chanting slogans "ready to embrace death while protecting pride and honour of Holy Prophet (PBUH)", "Musharraf: patron of terrorists in Sindh" marched on the Multan Road as they reached Multan Chungi crossing the demonstration converged into big public meeting.

Addressing the rally, naib ameer of JI Hafiz Mohammad Idris termed the Karachi blast a heinous conspiracy against Islam and its peaceful followers. He was of the view that General Pervez Musharraf’s policies have exposed Pakistan to world conspiracies as the General is ready to go extra-mile and hammer the very basic ideology of the country in order to please his foreign masters. He urged the masses to forge greater unity in their ranks for countering the conspiracies of anti-Islam people. He said prime minister’s claim of "punishing the culprits involved in the Karachi blast" was mere rhetoric as criminals can not nab criminals rather they protect each other.

In his speech on this occasion, Secretary General Lahore chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami Ameerul Azim said the Karachi blast is not an isolated event of its nature rather it is part of a well-orchestrated series which executed blasts during Moharram at Hangu and on the eve of other religious occasions. He asked where the commander of armed forces went when his people were soaked in blood even at the time of prayers. He said the Mustafwi revolution can not be stopped with such cowardly acts in which innocent people and leaders were being killed in blasts. The government, he said, is trying to push the things under the carpet by branding the blast a suicide bombing.

Chaudhry Mohammad Shaukat, MPA said the military rulers have made the Sindh province hostage of a linguistic group whose interior minister and Governor are on the wanted list of law enforcing agencies themselves.

People of Karachi have lodged their FIR in the court of masses and now they are obliged to converge around the leadership of MMA to rid the country from military dictator.

He warmed if Punjab government tried to ban the Shan-e-Mustafa Conference scheduled for April 22, at Minar-e-Pakistan in the pretext of security hazards the responsibility of all the consequences will rest upon the shoulders of government. Protesters peacefully dispersed after the program which was ended with prayer.

Holistic anti-terrorism strategy needed to counter anti-state conspirators: Dr Jamal

Federal Minister for tourism Dr G G Jamal while condemning the unfortunate incident of Nishtar park Karachi urged for chalking out and implementing a holistic anti-terrorism strategy to counter all anti-state conspirators, on Friday.

He urged the nation to unite to penetrate terrorist organizations to deal firmly against the heinous act of terrorism especially at religiously sacrosanct places.

The Federal Minister mentioned government has appointed two separate inquiries one headed by high court judges and other by police and intelligence agencies.

He said government is using state-of-the-art technology such as recent establishment of DNA test laboratory with Chinese collaboration in the federal capital to reach anti-humanity elements.

In the backdrop of Karachi Blasts the Minister added we need to show resolve and demonstrate tolerance at this critical moment.

He appealed the masses to project the true value of Islam by staying united against terrorist elements.

End.

Reader Comments:

conspiracy against Islam

There is a conspiracy against some Islamic beliefs - and it comes from within.

It comes from those who tell us we must believe as they do, even live as they do and if we don't, they will murder us.

Religion is a very personal and private thing. Why the obsession?

All we can do now is pray for the dead and the wounded and hope the world will awaken - in time...

Isadora, United Kingdom - 15 April, 2006

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