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Protests against hate film continue

September 17, 2012

HYDERABAD, Sept 17: Protest demonstrations were held, rallies taken out and shutterdowns were observed in all major cities of Sindh including Hyderabad, Sukkur, Nawabshah, Mirpurkhas, Khairpur, Mithi and Sanghar for a second consecutive day on Monday to condemn the anti-Islam film and its maker.

A shutterdown was observed in almost entire Hyderabad district and large groups of emotionally charged men and women continued to join rallies taken out from different areas.

Religious and political parties as well as social organisations and trade bodies and mohalla committees organised the protests.

In some areas where markets and shops were opened in the morning, protesters pelted stones and forced closure of business.

The protesters burnt old tyres on roads, streets squares in the city. Vehicular traffic remained thin and the few schools and colleges that opened in the morning were also closed when a series of rallies and processions were taken out.

They also torched the US flag and effigies of President Barack Obama. There were reports of firing into the air in some localities.

The parties and organisations which organised the rallies included PML-F, PML-N, PPP-Shaheed Bhutto, Ahle Sunnat Wal-Jamaat, Sunni Tehrik, Lawyers Forum, All Pakistan Clerks Association, Pasban and Al-Saadat Social Welfare Association.

The leaders who spoke to the protesters demanded action against the maker of the film and against all those who committed blasphemy. They criticised the West for allowing such people to hurt sentiments of millions of Muslims around the world.

They said that a conspiracy was being hatched to defame Islam, which preaches only peace, love, harmony, brotherhood, tolerance and respect for other religions and their followers.

In Khairpur, a large number of people held a demonstration outside the local press club to express their anguish at the hate film. PML-N leader Marvi Memon spoke to the protesters. The rally started from Ghous Manzil and terminated at the press club. Members of the party’s youth and women wings also participated in the rally.

Ms Marvi also criticised the recently promulgated Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance, 2012 and announced that her party would launch a campaign against it. Nationalist parties would also be taken along in the drive which would continue till the withdrawal of the ordinance, she said.

In Nawabshah, all main markets and bazaars remained closed on Monday as a mark of protest against the hate film.

Activists of Jamaat-i-Sualeheen took out a rally from Malang Masjid and held a demonstration outside the local press club.

Amir of the Jamaat Sahibzada Khalid Sultan Bahu Alqadri and other leaders condemned the anti-Islam film and urged the government to take up the issue with the US. They demanded sever punishment for the filmmaker.

Members of the District Bar Association boycotted court proceedings and took out a rally from the district court and marched up to the local press club raising slogans against the hate film.

They demanded immediate ban on YouTube and Facebook.

Activists of Anjuman Sarfaroshan-i-Islam and students of Quaid-i-Awam University also staged protest demonstrations in different areas of the city.

Members of the Tharparkar Bar Association along with court employees and activists of the civil society organisations staged a protest demonstration at Kashmir Chowk in Mithi to condemn the film.

They blocked the Mithi-Naokot road, raised slogans against the filmmaker, US and European countries. They called for exposing the elements behind such conspiracies against Islam and Muslims A complete strike was observed in Mirpurkhas, Mirwah Gorchani, Digri, Tando Jan Mohammad, Jhuddo, Naokot, Kot Ghulam Mohammad, Jhillori, Khaan, Mir Ji Landhi, Phuladiyoon, Sindhri and Hingorno against the hate film. Public transport did not ply between Mirpurkhas and Karachi via Hyderabad.