Police baton-charge long marchers


RAWALPINDI: In a bid to stop a long march called by the Sunni Ittehad Council reroute to Data Darbar in Lahore, a heavy contingent of police ruthlessly baton charged and tear gased the participants in Sowan Bridge on Saturday, leaving dozens injured.
Police stopped the participants who took to the streets against the increasing Talibanisation across the country and against the expected change in the blasphemy law.
During the scuffle a number of activists and some police officials were injured. The long march, titled Pakistan Bachao (Save Pakistan) was called by the Sunni Ittehad Council and led by MNA Sahibzada Fazal Karim and Ijaz Qadri.
Thousands of people of the Barelvi school of thought gathered at Bari Imam Shrine. Before beginning their long march, they staged a massive protest demonstration against the government for arresting their colleagues. During the protest, a heavy contingent of police kept the main entrance closed for all devotees.
Addressing marchers at Rawal Chowk, Karim said Taliban were attacking shrines but the government was not paying any heed to it. Later, police tried to halt the rally at Faizabad while placing barbed wires on Murree Road, however, after a scuffle the activist managed to remove it.
Speakers demanded immediate removal of Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and the Punjab chief secretary for not taking adequate security measures near Data Darbar, which resulted in a deadly suicide attack.
They demanded the Punjab chief minister make public the findings of the inquiry. They said more than 60 activists who came from Karachi were detained from the railway station while hundreds of others who were on their ways to Islamabad from various stations including Jhelum, Gujranwala, Murree were also taken into custody.
Sunni Tahreek Chairman Ijaz Qadri demanded a massive crackdown against all those seminaries which were flourishing arms culture.