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KARACHI: The 31-hour-long sit-in staged by civil society members near CM House ended on Wednesday after the government accepted the terms put forward by the protesters to publicly ban activities of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ).

At around midnight, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader

Sharmila Farooqui visited the PIDC intersection where the protest was being staged since Monday over the Shikarpur tragedy.

Ms Farooqui presented the government’s response to demands of the protesters, who accepted it.

She told the media that the government had outlawed 60 organisations whose names would be made public soon. The ASWJ is at 32 on the list and the official record says it has been banned since Feb 15, 2012.

Ms Farooqui also assured the protesters that if the government had given any police protocol to members of banned outfits, it would be immediately withdrawn.

However, activist Mohammad Jibran Nasir, who had been leading the demonstration, said: “The ASWJ has announced a rally on Thursday from Lasbela Chowk to Gurumandir following the government announcement of banning them — which also restricts them from carrying out mass processions.”

About the protesters’ demand for the removal of posters and flags of the banned outfits from the city, the government will release a report within 15 days to ‘regulate’ the placement of flags and posters of such organisations while ‘steps will be taken’ to remove them.

Mr Nasir said: “We have offered the government our services in helping them remove the wall chalking and flags. I will also start a citywide campaign where we will ask citizens to help us in the initiative.

“If the government cannot even remove flags from the roads within the next few days, this will call for a reason to stage a protest again,” he said.

The demonstrators had also sought free-of-cost treatment of those injured in the Shikarpur blast in Karachi. The government agreed to coordinate with the Jafaria Disaster Management Cell to verify the names of the blast victims who needed medical treatment in Karachi, said Mr Nasir.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2015

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