KARACHI: A large number of people took part in a protest rally in the city on Sunday to condemn the recent execution of a prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, in Saudi Arabia.
The rally was organised by the Majlis-i-Wehdatul Muslimeen (MWM), which condemned the “unjust execution of Saudi rights activist al-Nimr by the regime”.
The rally emerged from Shah-i-Khorasan, Britto Road, and ended at the Sea-Breeze building on M.A. Jinnah Road.
The marchers, included women and children, condemned what they described as the ‘state terrorism’ of the Saudi government.
They were holding portraits of al-Nimr and displaying placards inscribed with slogans: ‘We all are al-Nimr’ and ‘Stand for justice’.
The protesters also chanted slogans against the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia and criticised the ‘silence’ of the international community on the executions of the ‘peaceful political prisoners’.
Alongside MWM leaders, Maulana Hassan Zafar Naqvi and others stood several Sunni leaders, including Jamiat-i-Ulema Pakistan’s Qazi Ahmed Noorani, Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s Zafar Iqbal, All Pakistan Sunni Tehreek’s Matloob Awan Qadri and Anjuman-i-Naujawanan Islam’s Samad Iqbal.
The speakers asked the government of Pakistan to leave a Saudi-led security alliance, which the Saudi Arabia had forged recently apparently to counter militancy across continents, immediately because, they alleged, “the Saudi government was supporting terrorism in the world”.
Allama Abbas Kumaili, who also later held a press conference, said the entire world condemned the execution of Sheikh Nimr.
He said participation of Shias and Sunnis together in such rallies had foiled detractors’ agenda aimed at dividing Muslims on sectarian grounds.
JUP’s Qazi Ahmed Noorani also condemned the execution.
Scores of people, including children, representing civil society, gathered outside the Saudi consulate to protest against al-Nimr’s execution.
Later, a girl among the protesters was allowed to go to near the gate of the building and hand over papers to the security incharge of the consulate, which organisers described as a memorandum for the Saudi authorities. “Civil society condemns the mass executions, political assassinations and judicial murders of political and religious dissenters, including recent judicial murder of Sheikh al-Nimr,” said a statement issued by the organisers.
Meanwhile, Allama Rab Nawaz Hanafi, a local leader of the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, in a statement said the executions in Saudi Arabia had nothing to do with targeting any Shia or certain Sunni individuals.
“They merited to be executed as they committed the heinous crime of treason against the state,” he said.
Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2016