The demonstration organized for the safe recovery of the Sindhi and Baloch missing persons in Karachi was reportedly attacked by a mob of Islamists. Several of the protesters were critically beaten in the unprovoked attack.
According to the sources, a demonstration was organized in front of the Karachi Press Club on Sunday for the safe recovery of the Baloch and Sindhi missing persons. The demonstration was proceeding when an Islamist rally titled Namoos-e-Sahaba rally, organized by the Jamat Ahle Sunnat, reached the press club.
The Islamists were reportedly carrying Pakistani flags and truncheons. The mob suddenly attacked the demonstrators, beating them with truncheons and bare fists. They yanked the banners and placards from their hands and tore them apart. The assailants also verbally abused and threatened the demonstrators.
The administration reportedly did not attempt to step in and repel the aggressive mob.
The Voice for Missing Persons of Sindh (VMPS), an active group advocating for the recovery of Sindhi missing persons, accused the Pakistani agencies of the violence in a statement, saying that the ‘state-backed’ religious group attacked and wounded the demonstrators, including women.
The statement further said that the Pakistani agencies are instigating a sectarian and linguistic conflict, paving the way for a violent civil war.
VMPS advised its members to remain calm and refrain from violence. Instead, organize peaceful protests to tackle the ‘state-backed’ religious extremism in Sindh. Sindhi, being an ‘oppressed nation’, can only protest against the enemy’s assault, the statement concluded.
It is pertinent to mention that Karachi has been mired in anti-Shia demonstrations and rallies for the past two days. Thousands of people, including Sunni extremists, have taken to the streets, accusing prominent Shia leaders of blasphemy after a televised broadcast of an Ashura procession showed Shia leaders allegedly making disparaging remarks about historical Islamic figures.
Thousands of protesters on Friday rallied on the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the “founder of Pakistan” who was a Shia Muslim, and chanted “infidels” and “God is great.” A pocket of demonstrators waved banners of Sapah-e-Sahaba, an Islamist group involved in the killing of hundreds of Shias Muslims over the years. The demonstrations have sparked fears of a new round of sectarian violence in Sindh.