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PAKISTAN: Mob pelts trains with stones, many injured as protest against caricatures continues

Demonstrations continue as protesters attack trains, clash with police

Dawn
Saturday, February 11, 2006

Mandi Bahauddin --- People from different callings on Saturday continued protest against sacrilegious depictions with pledges to boycott the products of the nations involved in the publications.

In Mandi Bahauddin, the protesters took law into hand by pelting two trains with stones. A train driver and the Saddar DSP were among the injured.

On the call of the Markazi-i-Anjuman-i-Tajran, a wheel-jam and shutter-down strike was observed and several rallies were taken out. Hundreds of demonstrators reached the railway station and tried to stop the Lalamusa-bound 245-up Lillah Express. They pelted the train with stones as a result of which several passengers were injured.

Earlier at 10am, no sooner had the Faisalabad Express arrived from Malikwal than hundreds of protesters pelted it with stones. Saddar DSP Ziaullah Niazi, train driver and dozens of passengers were injured. The police teargassed the demonstrators who, in retaliation, opened fire in the air.

Meanwhile, the Dhamaka Express 138-down came from Lalmusa, but the railway officials made it to return from the outer signal.

The protesters also blocked the Malikwala-Lalamusa track for five hours and the Faisalabad Express could be sent to Lalamusa at 2pm.

In the wake of tense situation, police was put on high alert.

Sialkot

A shutter-down strike was observed in Daska city (Sialkot district) and the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal took out a rally as a protest against Denmark, Italy, Germany, France and other western countries. Thousands turned up at the rally flaunting banners and placards to give vent to their disquiet.

The protesters also set ablaze the flags of these countries and demanded extradition of their ambassadors.

Meanwhile, Daska-based PPP (European Affairs) president Matloob Ahmad Warraich announced giving up his nationality of various European countries as a mark of protest.

Gujranwala

The District Bar Association took out a procession and demanded that the government should severe diplomatic ties with the countries involved in the nasty business.

The lawyers gathered outside the DPO office and marched through many areas.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Medical Association and Naushera Virkan Drug Association announced boycott of the medicines of these countries and demanded at its meeting that the declaration of their newspapers should be cancelled.

Faisalabad

In Faisalabad city, students of various institutions took out rallies to express their resentment over the publication of blasphemous caricatures.

They boycotted the classes on the call of various student organizations.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Justice and Peace local chapter organized a meeting of Muslim and Christian leaders who condemned the incident and sought apologies from the countries involved in the act.

Sahiwal

Hundreds of students from 10 schools in Sahiwal also launched a protest by blocking traffic on the GT Road at Pakpattan Chowk.

Among the speakers were Teachers Action Committee president Rao Ashraf Ali and headmasters association chief Rana Khalid Javed.

AsiaMedia