Karachi: Gunfire disrupts pro-Osama rally
KARACHI, May 6: Shots fired during a march of some religious groups on M.A. Jinnah Road to pay homage to Osama bin Laden and show solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Friday caused fear among the participants and a scuffle between police and members of the rally, officials and organisers said.
The police said no one was hurt in the firing and that it was not an attack on the march, which was held under the auspices of Jamaat-ul-Dawa.
As the marchers reached near Tibet Centre they heard gunfire and ran for safety. The incident also sparked panic in the area, which neighbours major commercial centres as well as residential areas.
“We thoroughly investigated the incident and conducted a complete search of the surrounding areas,” said SSP Irshad Ali Raza of Saddar Town.
“No clue was found which could have showed that it was an attack on the rally neither the firing caused any injury to any participant of the rally.”
However, he said, the police suspected the involvement of a few present in the rally who scuffled with policemen deployed there for security and thrashed one of them.
“Seeing this other policemen deployed on the security intervened and fired only a few shots when they found that the violent protesters were not ready to release their colleague,” he added.
He said some participants of the rally retaliated when the police fired into the air for the rescue of their colleague. “Even one of my gunmen was badly beaten. We are investigating the case and would definitely register the FIR once the culprits are identified,” said SSP Raza.
However, Orangzeb Farooqi, a leader of the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) — one of the parties that organised the rally — said the firing was planned to sabotage their peaceful event.
“It`s strange to now learn this police version as earlier they had thanked the rally participants and party leaders for their cooperation despite the armed attack,” he added.
Earlier, the marchers were addressed by leaders of about half-a-dozen religious parties, including Hafiz Hakeemullah, Engineer Naveed Qamar, Prof Mehmoodul Hasan and Maulana Yusuf Kashmiri.
They demanded that the government give up its cowardly posture and break off ties with the US and other countries conspiring against Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Terming the gathering `a milestone in the war against infidels`, Engineer Qamar said that the enemies of Islam were celebrating the day of martyrdom of Osama bin Laden forgetting that the martyrdom could not block the way of Muslims.
He said that Islamic movements were not based on personalities but ideologies. “Such martyrdoms will augur well for the victory of Islam,” he said.
He also condemned the firing on the rally and said it was an attempt to give a sectarian colour to the peaceful rally aimed at demonstrating the unity of Ummah and formulating a strategy for the defence of Hermain Sharifain.