Situation in Islamabad remains grim as pro-Qadri protesters continue agitation

Islamabad, Mar.29 (ANI). Around 700 pro-Mumtaz Qadri protesters continued their agitation in capital Islamabad despite warnings from the government, which has brought the most sensitive parts of the capital to a standstill on Tuesday.

Yesterday, more than 10,000 charged protesters took part in a rally organised by the Sunni Tehreek (ST) in the city, damaging buildings and setting fire to the metro station, containers and buses.

A crowd consisting of around at least 25,000 people had attended the chehlum of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer’s killer, in Rawalpindi’s Liaquatbagh earlier that day.

Qadri, an Elite Force commando, was executed at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on February 29. He shot Taseer 28 times in broad daylight in Islamabad’s Kohsar Market on January 4, 2011.

Qadri had said that he killed Taseer over what he called the politician’s vocal opposition to blasphemy laws of the country.

The protesters, in front of Parliament, issued a list of 10 demands under the banner of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool (SAW) demanding the unconditional release of all Sunni clerics and leaders booked on various charges, including terrorism and murder.

They also demanded Qadri be recognised as a martyr and the conversion of his Adiala Jail cell into a national heritage site, assurances that blasphemy laws will not be amended, and the removal of Ahmadis and other non-Muslims who occupy key posts.

The protesters further demanded the execution of blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi, the woman former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was killed for defending.

Over 700 agitators were later picked from parts of Islamabad and sent to various jails in Punjab yesterday and four separate cases were registered against 501 religious workers, including their leadership, under the Anti-Terrorism Act by police.

Today’s sit-in continues despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s address last night warning warned radical Islamists not to take the government’s leniency as a sign of weakness.

Sharif’s address came after a massive suicide bombing at Lahore’s Gulshan-i-Iqbal park killed at least 72 people and several injured during the Easter celebrations on Sunday.

Militant group, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan Jamatul Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack.

The military had responded by launching raids on suspected militant hideouts across Punjab. Meanwhile, the raids are underway. (ANI)

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