Protests in London against sectarian killings in Pakistan

LONDON: Interior Minister Rehman Malik asserted that Shia Muslims in Pakistan are being killed by sectarian terror groups Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba and Jaish-e-Muhammad and it is inappropriate the pheonomena as a Shia-Sunni fight.

The interior minister was speaking to around 150 Shia protestors who organized an impromptu vigil on Saturday night outside Rehman Malik’s residence near Edgware Road against target killings of Shias in Pakistan by sectarian terrorist groups. Activists from United Shia Front and Imamians UK gathered with lit candles and banners saying “no to terrorism”, “don’t bring back Raisani”, “don’t end governor raj in Balochistan” etc.

Two vans of police were present on the scene to prevent any law and order situation and guarded the entrance to Rehman Malik’s house.

Malik spoke peacefully to the protestors for half an hour and informed them that terrorists groups have placed bounty on his head just because of his tough stance against sectarian hate-mongers and that he had done more than anyone else to provide security to Shia communities but asked for understanding of the complex situation Pakistan has been thrown into.

Malik said he has been criticized and ridiculed for issuing warnings and alerts of possible terror threats but the aim is to provide security and do everything to avert loss of lives of Pakistanis. Furthermore, the minister claimed he had warned in advance about “massacre of Shias in Balochistan” but he was parodied and criticised for “scaring off” people.

“We have imposed governor Raj in Balochistan and will ask the parliament to extend it beyond two months,” he said, answering demand of the protestor who said they will do sit-ins in London and elsewhere if the government of Nawab Raisani was restored.

Activists strongly protested that known offenders were roaming free, Malik replied that Ishaq was set free by the court because witnesses refused to testify against him, including the special branch officer who had nabbed Ishaq, a sectarian killer who has boasted about massacring Shias.

“I agree we will be ashamed of ourselves if we fail to enact a strong law which punishes terrorists. I will raise your demand of not restoring Rasiani’s government and for strong anti-terror laws before the houses of parliament,” Malik assured. Malik said he deserved credit for stating that major terror attacks have been planned in Karachi in the month of February. “I was right to shut mobile phone service on Friday. Nothing happened during the time the service was off but as soon as the service was restored 11 people fell.

This is a conspiracy to break Pakistan, there is an international plot to separate Balochistan from Pakistan,” said Malik, also stating that the attitude of Punjab government has changed and the provincial government is doing its best to eradicate sectarian groups.

Speaking to media agencies, Malik said that there was a “well thought-out and comprehensive” strategy in place against Pakistan. He asked people to consider how Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri staged a dharna in the capital and at the same time three service chiefs in India issued threats to Pakistan.

He said Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s reaction after his “massacre in Karachi” statement was natural as the party has “to speak the language of its people. But it was important for me to make people aware. I had to justify why I am shutting down the phone service. I am always in touch with the MQM Rabita Committee and they have genuine concerns. After speaking to them, I have directed the Rangers and the Sindh government to pay attention to MQM’s concerns and increase street patrolling.”