PESHAWAR: Religious and political parties took out rallies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal area on Friday against the publication of profane cartoons in the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.
Jamaat-i-Islami, both factions of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and other groups organised small and big rallies in Peshawar and other cities of the province. However, rallies remained peaceful across the province.
Activists of JuD torched the French flag in front of the Peshawar Press Club where they had converged after rallying from Fawara Chowk in Saddar Bazaar. Workers of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat also joined the protest. The protesters chanted slogans against the French government and demanded that printing of insulting material should be stopped. They said that France and other European countries should not allow production of sacrilegious material in the name of freedom of expression.
Workers of Jamaat-i-Islami took out a rally from Al Markaz-i-Islami, the party’s provincial headquarters, and then staged a demonstration on the GT Road. The party’s provincial chief Professor Ibrahim Khan led the rally. The protesters were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the blasphemous cartoons.
Protesters demand ending ties with France, expulsion of envoy
Speaking on the occasion, Professor Ibrahim said that leaders of Muslim countries should ask the French government and other members of the European Union to place ban on printing of sacrilegious material in print media. He demanded of the Organization of Islamic Conference to chalk out plan to stop printing of blasphemous material in future.
The rally passed a resolution demanding of the federal government to cut off diplomatic ties with France and expel French ambassador from the country.
Workers of JI also took out a rally from Mahabat Khan Mosque and culminated at Chowk Yadgar. They criticised leaders of the 40 countries who attended the rally in Paris to show solidarity with Charlie Hebdo magazine. The JI issued a press release which stated that protest rallies were taken in other cities and towns of the province and Fata.
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F held a protest rally against the French magazine at the Motorway Chowk. Former provincial minister Asif Iqbal Daudzai and secretary information Abdul Jalil Jan led the protesters. The protesters demanded of the government to call back its ambassador from France and end diplomatic relations with the country.
Meanwhile, the lawyers’ community across the province boycotted proceedings of courts on the call of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council.
In Peshawar, the lawyers didn’t turn up before any court.
The Peshawar High Court Bar Association’s secretary general Mohammad Ayaz Khan asked the federal government to declare the French ambassador as persona non grata and also sever ties with Paris.
Mr Ayaz said that the French magazine had continuously been hurting the sentiments of Muslims in the name of freedom of expression.
TIMERGARA: Following the call of JI chief Sirajul Haq activists of Jamaat-i-Islami staged demonstrations at Chakdara, Talash, Timergara, Maidan and Samar Bagh against the printing of the sacrilegious caricatures by satirical French magazine. The JI workers came on the roads after Friday prayers and chanted slogans against the French government and the magazine, alleging they tried to provoke the sentiments of Muslims across the globe.
CHITRAL: A procession was taken out by Jamaat-e-Islami activists from Shahi Masjid after Friday prayers, who converged at PIA Chowk, where people from other mosques had also turned up to register their protest against the publication of profane cartoons.
JI district chief Maghfirat Shah, deputy chief Maulana Israruddin Al-hilal and others strongly condemned the publication of blasphemous caricatures.
GHALANAI: Rallies were taken out in various bazaars of Mohmand Agency by workers of JI, JUI-F and social and welfare organisations to protest the publication of sacrilegious cartoons. A protest rally was taken out by JI in Mian Mandi Bazaar.
Similarly, JUI-F workers staged protests in Ghalanai and Ekkaghound, holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the French government. They also blocked the main road in the agency for an hour.
SWABI: Majlis-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwat leaders and workers held a protest march against the US and its allies for “targeting Islam and the Muslims”. The protesters were led by Maulana Roshan Zeb Haqqani.
They gathered near the Sanakhel Mosque after the Friday prayers and then marched to Topi general bus stand, chanting slogans against the US and other European countries.
KARAK: The religious parties jointly took out a rally against the sacrilegious sketches and demanded of OIC to evolve a strategy to tackle the situation.
Former MNA Shah Abdul Aziz, Jamaat-i-Islami district president Maulana Tasleem Iqbal, JUI-F district general secretary Maulana Zahoor Ahmad led the protesters, who marched from the Peer Odeen Shah Mosque to Sadam Chowk after the Friday prayers.
MARDAN: People from different walks of life and activists of various political parties took to the streets against the printing of blasphemous caricatures in French magazine.
Demonstrations were also staged by the district bar association, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F, Jamaat-i-Islami and civil society members.
After the Friday prayers, leaders and workers of political parties, including JUI-F, JI, PPP, MPL-N, PTI and civil society members jointly took out a procession against the blasphemous caricatures from Bacha Khan Chock to Mardan Press Club.
NOWSHERA: Local residents, including traders, blocked roads and observed a shutter down strike in protest against printing of controversial sketches in the French magazine.
Protest rallies were also taken out by JUI-S, district bar association, Shabab-i-Milli, and Anjuman-i-Tajeran.
Addressing a rally, JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq stressed that the government should sever diplomatic ties with France. He claimed that the western powers were conspiring to defame Islam.
LAKKI MARWAT: Activists of political, religious parties and civic organisations held a demonstration in Lakki city to condemn the blasphemous sketches.
They assembled in Qazi Ishfaq chowk at the main bus stand and blocked Bannu-Mianwali road. Political activists carried flags of their parties and raised slogans against the French government.
Protest rallies were also held in others districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2015