Shiites rally in Karachi against leader's killing
KARACHI - Agence France-Presse
Shi'ite Muslim men chant religious slogans as they carry the coffin of Shi'ite leader Allama Didar Jalbani, during a funeral procession in Karachi December 4, 2013. REUTERS photoAround 1,200 Shiites rallied in Karachi on Wednesday to protest the killing of a senior community leader in a sectarian attack, blocking an arterial road in the southern Pakistani city.
They offered funeral prayers for Allama Deedar Ali Jalbani, shot dead along with his guard by gunmen in the eastern neighbourhood of Gulshan-e-Iqbal on Tuesday.
They also shouted slogans against the killing and demanded the government arrest Jalbani's killers.
The city's main artery, M.A. Jinnah Road, which links different busy districts and shopping areas was shut for hours due to the Shiites' protest.
"We closed the road and stopped movement of traffic in the surrounding areas also to avoid any untoward incident," senior police official Pir Muhammad Shah told AFP.
Private schools in the city remained shut and public transport was thin due to security fears following a protest call given by Shiites' representative organisation, Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM), of which Jalbani was the deputy secretary general.
Three main universities, Karachi university, Federal Urdu university and NED university postponed examinations scheduled for Wednesday.
At least five people including Jalbani, his guard and three members of Islamic preaching group were shot dead in Karachi on Tuesday.
Shiites make up around 20 percent of Pakistan's population, which is largely Sunni Muslim.
Karachi, a city of 18 million people which contributes 42 percent of Pakistan's GDP, has been plagued by sectarian, ethnic and political violence for years.