KARACHI, Oct 6: In reaction to the killing of Maulana Azam Tariq, chief of the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, many areas in the metropolis remained tense on Monday evening, as protesters took to the streets and forced shopkeepers to shut their shops.

Police are put on a red-alert and the security has been beefed up in the city, particularly around religious institutions, imambargahs and mosques.

Besides, the police has also increased patrolling, especially in sensitive areas, including Nagan Chowrangi, Business Recorder Road, Nishter Road, Sohrab Goth, Qauidabad, Nadaria and other areas.

Tension was high at Nagan Chowrangi, where the people thronged outside Siddique-i-Akbar mosque after the news of the killing of Maulana Azam Tariq spread like wildfire. The headquarters of the banned SSP is supposed to be located in the premises of the mosque.

The shops and markets at the main Nagan Chowrangi and its surrounding localities were closed by angry youths. The people kept standing there in groups, however, they dispersed peacefully later and the police increased deployment around the mosque.

Heavy firing in the air was reported around Khulafa-i-Rashideen mosque in Khadda Market, Baghdadi, after which the protesters forcibly closed shops and markets in the area. The tension gripped the entire locality, a resident said.

However, a senior police official said that some youths pelted vehicles and shops with stones, which caused suspension of vehicular traffic and closure of shops.

City police chief Asad Ashraf Malick said that the security at imambargahs and mosques had been heightened and snap-checking of vehicles was being conducted with the help of Rangers on various roads and streets.

“We are in touch with Ulema of both the sects and ask them to cooperate with the police in maintaining peace,” Mr Malick added.

The security cover for Ulema of either sects, which was provided to them earlier, had been enhanced, he said and added that the police had been making all out efforts to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in the metropolis. “All security measures are being taken for the safety of the citizens and not to create harassment,” he clarified.

He said the leaves of police officials had been cancelled and all town police officers and SHOs were directed to be in field and monitor the situation of their respective areas.

DIG Operations Tariq Jamil said: “Tension has been reported in Nagan Chowrangi, Patel Para, Shah Faisal Colony and Nadaria in Nazimabad, where deployment has been increased.”

“We have also contacted Ulema of different madressah and asked them to extend cooperation to the police in maintaining peace and tranquillity”, he added.

He said: “Police training institutions have been closed down immediately and all the force, getting training in those institutions, has been deployed at different areas for security purpose.”

He said almost 2,000 additional force had been acquired from the training institutions.

Mr Jamil said that no incident of violence had so far been reported from any part of the metropolis.

A spokesman for Rangers said that the vigilance and patrolling had been increased. “Rangers are conducting snap-checking of vehicles along with the police. Although it is routine but in certain situation the checking of vehicles is increased,” he said.

Reports from Water Pump in Federal B Area said that shops and markets in the locality were closed forcibly and the area was in the grip of tension.

People gathered at Hino Pak chowrangi in Korangi and pelted vehicles with stones, suspending flow of vehicular traffic for sometime. Rangers and police reached the spot and dispersed the people, after which the traffic flow was restored.

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