GUJRANWALA, Jan 12: Activists of the Shia Ulema Council on Saturday blocked the Rawalpindi Bypass and staged a sit-in to protest the target killing of Shias in suicide attacks in Quetta and other cities of the country.

The protesters led by council provincial general secretary Agha Azmat Ali, divisional president Gulfam Abbas, district president Imran Sarwar Bajwa and Shia Tehrik founder Sabir Hussain gathered at the bypass and staged a sit-in. They burnt tyres and blocked traffic on all routes.

They were carrying banners and placards and raising slogans against the government. They appealed to the Supreme Court chief justice to take suo motu notice of Shias’ targeted killings and punish the officials who failed to avert the carnage in Quetta and other cities.

The traffic on GT Road at the Rawalpindi Bypass and linked roads remained suspended for hours, as the protesters refused to listen to police officials.

Shia Ulema Council activists also blocked Khiali Shahpur Bypass on Friday in protest against targeted killings in Balochistan and other areas of the country.

In Chiniot, Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen and Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) staged a protest rally against the Quetta massacre of Hazara people later this week. The rally started from Hussaini Chowk near the City Police Station and ended at Tehsil Chowk.

Speaking at the rally, Syed Ashiq Hussain; Ikhlaqul Hassan and others demanded an end to terrorism in the country and arrest of those linked to violence in Quetta. They demanded an operation cleanup in Balochistan against serial killings of Hazara people.

In Toba Tek Singh, ISO activists took out a rally in Kamalia on Saturday to condemn the failure of security agencies in protecting the Shia community in Quetta. They staged a sit-in at Thana Chowk for half an hour and called for deployment of army to protect the Shia community and arrest the killers.

Also, scores of Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen activists staged a sit-in on Jhang Road on Saturday night and blocked traffic on Toba-Jhang road. They set tyres on fire on the road and urged the army to take over Quetta to protect the Shia community. The protest was under way when this report was filed on Saturday evening.

In Dera Ghazi Khan, Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen activists blocked the inter-provincial Indus Highway to protest the Quetta carnage. Scores of people staged a protest demonstration and sit-in at Sangam Chowk against the targeted killings of Shia Hazaras in Quetta and demanded that army should be given control of the Balochistan capital. The protesters blocked the highway for two hours.