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Pakistani Anti-War Protesters completely shut down Karachi

Dawn newspaper in Pakistan reports that Pakistan's largest city was completely shut down by protests, and the call for a general strike to oppose the US move toward war. US media minimize the extent to which people in the region oppose US policy.
Pakistani Anti-War Protesters completely shut down Karachi
by Dawn Newspaper, Pakistan 10:23am Sat Sep 22 '01

KARACHI, Sept 21: Life in the city came to a standstill on
Friday as an effective strike was observed on the call given by various religious parties against the possible military strikes on Afghanistan and Pakistan's support to the US to use country's air space and the soil.

Despite the heavy deployment of the police and rangers in
almost all parts of the city, people preferred to stay indoors and most of the public transporters kept their vehicles off the road.

A big rally was taken out under the aegis of Pak-Afghan
Defence Council, Sindh which started from Banaras Chowk and
culminated at Habib Bank in SITE, where speakers in their
speeches condemned the government decision to provide
logistic and other facilities to the US.

The speakers said if the government allowed America to use its soil or air space, it would be against the interests of Muslims. They opposed the US attacks on Afghanistan and said that a new human catastrophe would start.

They stressed upon the people to remain united and foil
nefarious designs of the enemies and prepare themselves for a Jehad.

Religious scholars and prayer leaders delivered sermons in
mosques at Juma prayers urging the people to rise against the Pakistan government's decision to allow the US to use the country's air-space and soil for attacks on Afghanistan. They also condemned the US for its plan to attack Kabul without producing any solid evidence against Usama bin Laden. The speakers appealed to the nation to get united and extend support to the Islamic government in Afghanistan.

The government and civil administration had deployed heavy
contingents of police and rangers at various places in the city to meet any eventuality. The police had beefed up security and intensified patrolling, especially in sensitive parts of the city.

However, a complete shutter down strike was observed as all
commercial areas and markets at Boulton market, Saddar,
Jodia Bazaar, Hyderi Market, Liaquatabad, Nazimabad,
Korangi, Lyari, Tariq Road, Clifton and other areas remained closed.

Most of the public transport remained off the road throughout the day. Some of the people who tried to reach their workplaces faced hardships due to non-availability of public transport. However, in the evening, some of the public transport operators brought their vehicles on roads but their availability remained thin the rest of the day. Private vehicles also remained very thin in number.

The attendance of the staff in government and private offices was almost nil as they could not reach their workplaces due to non-availability of public transport. Most of the bank branches, and petrol stations also remained closed in several parts.

The trading at the vegetable market (Sabzimandi) on
Superhighway was also affected badly due to the strike. A
member of the fruit and vegetable market said that shopkeepers and vendors at the Sabzimandi were thin in numbers.

"The Sabzimandi was open as perishable items could not be
stored even for more than a day. But, due to the strike, traders suffered heavy losses.

The cargo handling activities at the port trust was also affected badly.

The legal proceedings in courts, including High Court, city
courts, accountability courts and anti-terrorism court, were affected badly as most of the court staff could not report to their duties due to a very low quantum of the public transport.

Due to the tense situation in the city and violence related
incidents at various places, the jail administration also failed to bring the under-trial prisoners to the concerned courts. In most of the cases, hearings were adjourned without any progress in the proceedings.



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