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Protests against Quetta carnage continue across the country

Published Jan 13, 2013 08:07am

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Citizens gather against the twin bombings attack in Quetta, at a rally in Lahore on January 12, 2013. — Photo by AFP

KARACHI: A strike was observed on Sunday in most parts of the country including Karachi, Multan, Hyderabad, Lahore, Islamabad and Quetta against Thursday's blasts in Balochistan's provincial capital.

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf flew to Quetta on Sunday to meet locals holding a protest alongside the bodies of family members killed in one of the country's worst sectarian attacks.

Ashraf was was accompanied by Federal Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira and Sardar Mohammad Umar Gorgage.

Governor Balochistan Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi on Sunday summoned a meeting of the the Balochistan provincial assembly for Jan 15 to discuss the situation over the attacks on the Hazara community in the province. The decision was taken on the advice of the province's Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani.

So far, the government has not made any public statement about the attacks, which were claimed by banned militant Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Earlier during the day, Pakistan-Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan along with the party's senior leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi reached Quetta's Alamdar road to express solidarity with the protestors staging a sit-in  against Thursday's carnage.

A day of mourning was being observed in Karachi on a call given by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). All markets and businesses were shut as petrol and CNG filling sations also remained closed in many areas of the city and vehicular traffic remained sparse on the roads. The Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM) had also taken rallies in various parts of the city.

Pakistan People's Party-Shaheed Bhutto chairperson, Ghinwa Bhutto also joined the  protests being held in Karachi's Numaish area.

Protests were also held outside Bilawal house, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari's residence in Clifton area of Karachi.

The Shia Ulema Council held protests in Karachi's Malir, Drigh Road and Star Gate areas near the railway tracks causing the suspension of railway traffic to and from the city.

The Pakistan Bar Council announced a nation-wide strike for Monday in solidarity with victims of the Quetta blasts and said that lawyers would not appear in the courts.

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A view of a sit-in being observed in Multan against the killing of Hazaras in the country. —Photographs by Mariam Ajmal Khan and Muhammad Zahid.

Shops and markets in  Badin, Tando Bago, Matli, Golarchi, Talhar and other towns of Badin district were closed on the joint call of different political and religious parties against the Quetta blasts.

Members of the MWM staged a sit-in in Imamia colony of Lahore, expressing solidarity with the victims of the killings in Quetta.

A sit-in staged by the relatives of Thursday's blast victims in Quetta continued into its third day as talks between the government and the Hazara community failed to reach a settlement.

Shia leaders are demanding that the provincial government be dismissed and that the army take over Quetta to guarantee their security.