Karachi: Supporters of Mumtaz Qadri, who was hanged in Pakistan for brutally murdering liberal Punjab province governor Salman Taseer, today targeted the media in violent attacks over the blackout of coverage of his funeral.
The supporters of Qadri took out small rallies after Friday prayers despite a ban imposed by the provincial government on pillion riding and imposition of section 144 in the city that prohibits public gatherings.
Venting their anger at the hanging of Qadri, who gunned down Taseer in Islamabad in 2011 for seeking reforms in the controversial blasphemy laws, the protesters first attacked the AAJ TV channel office in a busy commercial area here and ransacked the place.
Qadri’s supporters also attacked and damaged a van of another Express News.
They were angry over the blackout of coverage of of the convict’s funeral.
Meanwhile, protesters attacked the press club in Hyderabad city and damaged vehicles and motorcycles parked outside the premises.
“The crowd was very violent and we had to escape by climbing on the roof and jumping to an adjacent building or jumping out of windows,” a member of the Hyderabad press club said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack in Hyderabad, ransacking of the AAJ television channel and the assault on the van of Express News in Karachi.
Sharif, in a statement, said the government believed in freedom of media and such attacks were condemnable.
The protesters also torched tyres near the MA Jinnah Road and Naz Plaza in Karachi and forcibly closed several shops in Saddar’s electronics market.
Due to the different protests, traffic jams were seen in many areas of the city.
Qadri, deputed on the security of Taseer, had killed the governor at a market close to the latter’s house in 2011 in Islamabad for allegedly criticising the controversial blasphemy laws and was convicted the same year.
Taseer, who died aged 66, had termed the blasphemy regulations, introduced by Pakistan’s military ruler Zia-ul-Haq in 1980s, as “black laws” drawing the ire of extremists.
Qadri was hanged on Monday morning at a Rawalpindi jail after his appeal against the conviction was rejected by the Supreme Court.
Around 50,000 supporters of Qadri, mostly from Sunni Tehreek group had attended his funeral in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.