HYDERABAD, Sept 20: Religious scholars and leaders of religious and political parties have urged the government to sever diplomatic ties with the United States and expel its ambassador instead of announcing holidays to voice protest against the anti-Islam film made in the US.
They were addressing rallies, demonstrations and press conferences as almost all major cities of the province observed a strike on Thursday against the film.
The president of Jamia Madaris Imamia Pakistan, Maulana Ghulam Qambar Karimi, and its vice-president Maulana Raza Mohammad Saeedi said at a press conference in Hyderabad that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the UN should make laws to prevent blasphemous acts.
They urged people to join countrywide demonstrations on Friday against the United States and Israel and demanded exemplary punishment for the blasphemers.
They demanded that all Muslim countries, especially Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, sever diplomatic ties with the US.
Dr Shaheen Saeed Arain, member of the central council of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, urged rulers to declare the US ambassador a persona non grata and expel him instead of announcing holidays.
Addressing a press conference in Mirpurkhas, she appealed to the UN to make laws to prevent individuals from insulting religions. She urged Muslim countries to boycott the US-made products and stop supply of oil and petroleum products to the US and Israel.
A complete strike was observed in Nawabshah and its adjoining towns on a call given by religious parties and trade unions.
A number of processions were taken, which terminated at the press club. The protesters fired in the air and burnt tyres on all main roundabouts as all markets and bazaars remained completely shuttered. They demanded an immediate ban on the hate film.
Members of the Christian community and activists of the PML-N also took out processions. They said that such acts were intolerable and urged action against the culprits.
A complete strike was observed in Badin. Activists of Ulema Action Committee, traders and members of the general public took out a procession.
Qari Mehmood, Hafeez Samoon and Sufi Noor Ahmed Memon who led the protest demanded action against the film maker, director and cast and urged the government to sever diplomatic relations with the US before it was too late.
In Tando Bago, traders and religious leaders led a procession, urging the government to immediately sever ties with the US.
Activists of Ahle Sunnat Wal-Jamaat took out a procession in Jacobabad, which marched on different roads before terminating at the press club.
Addressing the protesters, Syed Aijaz Ali Shah, Maulana Mohammad Ismail Mangrio and others demanded a ban on the anti-Islam film and strict action against the people involved in making it.
In Umerkot, business community and transporters are in a fix over whether they should keep their shops open or run public transport on Friday as the district administration has not released any schedule for how it will observe ‘Youm-i-Ishq Rasool (PBUH)’ announced by the federal government.
Umerkot Deputy Commissioner Ahmed Ali Shah said that he had not received any notification about the day. Therefore, they had not planned any rally or conference in this regard.
JUI-F leader Dr Khalid Mehmood Soomro said the observance of the day was an attempt to befool people. If rulers felt genuinely hurt by the film they should sever diplomatic ties with America and send its envoy back.