KARACHI: Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) held a protest rally and sit-in on Friday, against involvement of neighbouring country Iran in flaring religious and sectarian strife in Pakistan.'
As per details, the ASWJ planned to protest in front of Iranian Consulate General for which a large number of leaders, workers and supporters gathered outside party HQ Siddique-e-Akbar Masjid, Nagan Chowrangi after the Friday's prayers. The party workers then marched till Guru Mandir where they were barricaded by the contingents of law enforcement agencies, preventing them to move towards Iranian Consulate General - the venue ASWJ had announced to stage their sit-in at.
The ASWJ - evolved through name change, having previously been banned while operating as Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan along with its rival sectarian outfit, Sipah-e-Mohammad Pakistan - had announced the protest following the disclosure of a "neighbouring Islamic country's involvement in sectarian violence" by Raja Umar Khitab, in-charge of Crime Investigation Department's (CID) Counter Terrorism and Financial Crime Unit.
"Not allowing us to protest peacefully at the announced venue is tantamount to infringement of citizens' rights," said Allama Aurangzeb Farooqui, the party's central spokesperson, as the protestors chanted slogans against Iranian government.
Meanwhile, police personnel were also deployed in large numbers outside the consulate, located adjacent to Clifton Bridge, since early Friday morning to deal with any untoward situation.
The ASWJ chief Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi said that neighbouring country Iran is directly involved in widening the sectarian differences as well as killings of religious scholars and seminary students in Pakistan.
"Friday has been observed as a day of protests against Tehran's involvement in militancy training, arming and funding of the sectarian terrorists," said Maulana Ludhianvi as he demanded Iranian government to not allow the use of its soil for terrorist activities by closing down the training centres for banned Sipah-e-Muhammad. "If Tehran fails to amend its intervention policy in our internal affairs, these protests will turn into a decisive movement against its government all across the country."
Earlier on Wednesday, Iranian Consulate General in Karachi had rejected the reports which accused Tehran of having links with the religious and sectarian strife in Pakistan while declaring the allegations "baseless and irresponsible."
"It's an effort for diverting public opinion from the root causes of the strife, sabotaging the two countries' friendly and brotherly relations and fomenting division among Muslim brothers," said the spokesperson in his statement. "Iran has always raised voice for unity and fraternity of Muslim ummah and believes that creating discord and hatred among Muslim communities only helps the enemies of Islam in reaching their objectives."
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