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LAHORE: Activists of Pakistan Masiha Millat Party hold Candlelight Vigil to mark 4th death anniversary of slay Punjab Governor Salman Taseer outside Lahore Press Club. INP PHOTO by Hamid Moosa
LAHORE: Activists of Pakistan Masiha Millat Party hold Candlelight Vigil to mark 4th death anniversary of slay Punjab Governor Salman Taseer outside Lahore Press Club. INP PHOTO by Hamid Moosa

LAHORE: Police rounded up 40 suspects on Monday in connection with an attack on a vigil held by civil society to mark the death anniversary of slain Punjab governor Salman Taseer on Sunday.

The arrests followed registration of an FIR under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and Sections 365, 427, 183, 148 and 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

More than 35 activists of civil society had gathered with banners, portraits and candles at Liberty Chowk when a group of people attacked the gathering. Over a dozen baton-wielding men tore the banners, portraits and posters and thrashed the activists.

A senior police investigator told Dawn that 40 suspects had been arrested for interrogation, all of them belonging to a banned organisation.

Police have identified one attacker as Mumtaz Sindhi and are raiding different places to arrest him. He said the suspects taken into custody were not primary targets.

The investigator said police would send pictures to the National Database and Registration Authority for identification because the real attackers were yet to be detained.

An organiser of the vigil, Diep Saeeda, told Dawn that she had been hit by something heavy and it was hurting. According to her, the SHO contacted her at about 3pm to discuss matters related to security. A police van was there when the attack took place but policemen acted as silent spectators, standing on the other side of the road.

Journalist Rai Shahnawaz said he was attacked although he had introduced himself as a media person, adding that the suspects also tried to kidnap him and bundled him into a car in which two armed men were sitting.

He said his right ear was wounded after he had been hit in the head with sticks.

Complainant Abdullah stated in the FIR that four armed men who were in a white car tried to kidnap a media person. They also attacked DSNG vans of TV channels.

He told Dawn that the activists had been holding the vigil for four years and no-one ever attacked them.

He said the activists were lighting candles when a young man appeared there, pulled out a knife and tore the portrait of Salman Taseer. He also shouted slogans in favour of Mumtaz Qadri (the killer of Mr Taseer).

Abdullah said there were about 15 attackers who came on two bikes and two cars. They attacked the participants with sticks.

Humyun Faiz, a witness, said the attackers thrashed the activists and raised slogans of ‘Long live Khatm-i-Nabuwwat and Sunni Tehreek’.

The attack sparked protests which were joined by members of Salman Taseer’s family, including his son Shaheryar Taseer, daughter Shehrbano and daughter-in-law Maheen Taseer.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2015

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Comments (23) Closed

numbersnumbers Jan 06, 2015 08:19am

On site police did nothing to stop the assault, what a surprise!!! NOT!

Assad Jan 06, 2015 08:32am

Chori aur ooper say seena zori....

Punish severely all those who take matters into their own hands.

Pragmatic Jan 06, 2015 09:10am

Extremism since 80s is deeply injected into our minds and we are passing it on to our generations. This legacy is going to last God knows for how long!

Baber Ch. Jan 06, 2015 09:35am

I am sorry but religiosity is now deeply entrenched among 90% of the population from an extremely worrying state to highly dangerous level. I just can't see ourselves coming out of it for the benefit of the country. If we are not a failed state yet, we sure are heading towards it.

Raju Jan 06, 2015 09:50am

Unless we hang the killers like Mumtaz Qadri, terrorism in this country is not gonna end.

rana1 Jan 06, 2015 09:53am

@numbersnumbers .....because police is also afraid of these hooligans who claim to be the bearers of Islam.Many of our policewalas are of the same thinking.

Rizwan Jan 06, 2015 09:59am

Feel really sorry for the incident. The arrested people will soon be released by the court with usual case of not enough proof.

adnan Jan 06, 2015 10:21am

its too late brothers and sisters its too late. its lot lot worse than is being told by so called media, and it has been worse for 2 decades.

Ajay Jan 06, 2015 10:23am

The military courts should try these people as its first cases. This was a terror act against society aimed to curtail its freedom and to take law and order in its own hands.

atifm Jan 06, 2015 11:17am

Attacking the vigil like this is terrorism in all means. And attacks in the name of Peaceful religion is to be condemned in every step of the way.

I also want to ask the reporter of this article as how 2 different things are mentioned here. In the picture it is Pakistan Masiha Millat Party while in the article it is the civil society. It means ppp and pti activists are also civil society? Can some one describe to me as to what civil society is actually? What is the motive anyway? We are always on the extreme whether it is the religious parties or the secular and moderate people. This is actually sad.

hamara-pakistan Jan 06, 2015 11:40am

all will be released I am a Muslim and I know the dirty system of inside ,These all mobs who are on mission to save god have every support inside out, Hi you good justice seeking people this is Pakistan where devils rule and nepotism is the norm, There is no one to wipe your tears and no place where moderate Muslim like us can have say, We fearing our life have to see injustice and laugh with devils. SORRY.

Irongloves Jan 06, 2015 11:46am

The portents are not good. 1. The police present stood like mute statues while the assailants went about violently breaking the law. 2. The police spokesman said "the suspects taken into custody were not primary targets", which translates to the real culprits are still free and may never be brought to book. The problem from afar looks to me like Nero (police) is fiddling while Rome (in this case, Pakistan) burns.

GPR Jan 06, 2015 12:01pm

As an Indian poster I make mostly post critical of Pakistan, but today by taking the right step Pakistan has earned my accolade, so I will say good job Pakistan, now please keep it up!

M Rafique Jan 06, 2015 12:05pm

Investigation under FIR against unknown persons is only an eye wash, which usually apply where the police know the actual person/persons but, either don't want to or can't take any action for mysterious reasons

zulfiqar ahmed Jan 06, 2015 12:05pm

we are heading towards a disaster; thanks to our corrupt and incompetent rulers.

Merchant Jan 06, 2015 12:29pm

The only way to send a strong message to these troublemakers is to immediately hang Mumtaz Qadri. I am sure Qadri was a troublemaker like these people and later turned into a cold blooded murderer.

Mian Shahid Mehmood Jan 06, 2015 01:05pm

We are addressing 'effects' leaving the 'cause' unattended. Justice delayed is justice denied; what is the fun in keeping appeal of murderer of Salman Taseer pending, despite confession of the accused and a period of more than 3-years elapsed. Civil Judicial System is giving reasons to the people to believe that it is not worthy of trust. Unless and until strong message is not given to the law breakers, we will not be able to achieve the objectives of weeding out the terrorism from Pakistan.

DM Jan 06, 2015 01:20pm

Just 35 activists could gather to mark the death anniversary of Salman Tasser...this shows the how dangerous situation is in Pakistan...or what Jia Ulhak had done to this country.....but keep raising the voice against stone age laws to help future generations to live a peaceful and colorful life

OneMoreThing Jan 06, 2015 01:27pm

We're the vigil holders outnumbered by these terrorist supporter of Qadri? They should have attacked and captured these thugs showing the idle police how it's done.

Imran Ahmed Jan 06, 2015 01:32pm

The vicious rats who attacked a remembrance vigil for a man who is honoured for khuda tarsi and compassion must receive exemplary punishment.

Najam Jan 06, 2015 01:32pm

Need to severely punish these people.

Rao Jan 06, 2015 01:59pm

That's a positive note from Pakistan....Hope civil society gets strengthened to take on all these thugs

kayenn Jan 06, 2015 03:32pm

The general narrative in Pakistan has to change in favour of tolerance, living together with all faiths and sects and making elected representatives as the top decision making body. At present hate for all lesser muslims, war mongering, and state within a state exists leading to the chaos in decision making and having toeing the extreme line. It requires paradime shift in thinking through education in proper schools !!!