KARACHI, Feb 17: Tension and fear gripped the city on Sunday evening, as people braced themselves for another shutter-down on Monday following a strike call given by the Shia Ulema Council and the Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen in protest over the latest carnage in Quetta.

A state of uncertainty prevailed in the city, traffic remained thin and most shops, food outlets, fuel stations were closed. While three vehicles had been set to fire during the day, two buses were torched in the evening in the Samanabad and Malir areas.

The Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI) announced that it would not bring public transport on roads on Monday.

KTI president Irshad Bukhari said that the decision to keep the transport off the road on Monday was taken following the request of the Shia Ulema Council, which requested the transport body to back their strike call by not plying public transport.

Traders also pledged to keep their business shut in the city. The Sunni Ittehad Council also backed the strike call and strongly condemned the Quetta carnage.

A large number of people are also taking part in two protest sit-in on the Numaish intersection and in Malir.

Meanwhile, a protest demonstration was held in front of the Karachi Press Club on Sunday evening.

The protest demonstration against the Quetta carnage of Shia Hazara community was organised by the Shia Ulema Council and the MWM.

The protesters reached the KPC in the form of a rally, which was taken out from the Numaish intersection after the Zohar prayers.

Initially, the rally was supposed to go to the Governor’s House, but police and the city administration stopped the rally near the Sea Breeze Complex on main M.A. Jinnah Road. A senior police officer negotiated with the participants of the rally following which they decided to hold the demonstration at the KPC.

The protestors were holding banners and placards and shouting slogans against massacre of innocent people in Quetta and demanding early arrest of terrorists.

The police placed barricades and containers to block all roads leading to the Governor and Chief Minister’s Houses.

Speaking at the rally, speakers called for a complete strike on Monday in Karachi to express solidarity with the victims of the Quetta carnage.

The speakers also called upon the traders and business community to keep their shops shut on Monday to register their protest.

Speaking on the occasion, MWM leader Maulana Nazir Abbas Naqvi said that if the government had arrested those who had carried out the Alamdar Road bombind the Saturday Hazara Town carnage would not have taken place.

He said that the government had miserably failed to protect the life and property of the people.

Maulana Sadiq Raza Taqvi of the MQM and other leaders demanded a military operation in Quetta to purge the city from terrorists.

The participants of the rally were told to return to the Numaish intersection, where a main sit-in was going on. The sit-in at Numaish intersection and Malir 15 had been initiated on Saturday night soon.

Earlier, speaking at a press conference, Allama Abbas Kumali of the Jafria Alliance said that a ‘systematic genocide of the Shias’ was taking place in Quetta and Karachi.

He said that the Shia community was left with no option but to approach the United Nations for help.

Updated Feb 17, 2013 08:10pm

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