January 2005 News

Agha Ziauddin laid to rest in Gilgit: 240 arrested, 24 injured in clashes

14 January 2005
The Daily Times
Staff Report

Gilgit: Members of the defunct Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) attacked the Lahore Press Club (LPC) on Friday and injured nine journalists.A large number of ISO students on Thursday protested against the assassination of Shia leader Agha Ziauddin Rizvi in front of LPC and started beating up man and a woman who were passing by. Local journalist Amir Sohail tried to stop the students, but was instead attacked and beaten up. Journalists Abid Nawaz, Shahnawaz Khan and Umar Sharif were also attacked when they tried to stop the students from beating up Amir. Police took the journalists inside the press club, where they (reporters) refused to publish the ISO's protest. Later, the students dispersed. On Friday evening, about 250 ISO students with weapons, stones, Molotov cocktails and lathis came to LPC and again protested against the Shia leader's assassination.They threw stones and shot at the press club, injuring nine journalists and damaging LPC's reception area and several vehicles belonging to journalists.At least 200 policemen said they had orders not to take action against the ISO students in case they started damaging government property.Meanwhile, senior journalist Asghar Butt tried to enter LPC, but the ISO students beat him up. Former LPC secretary Rai Hasnain Tahir tried to save Asghar, but he too was beaten with lathis. He received head injuries and several journalists took him inside the press club.All reporters again decided not to publish the ISO's protest and returned to LPC's premises. The ISO protested inside and outside the press club for about 35 minutes and left the scene.Journalists including LPC Vice President Shadab Riaz Khan, Shoaib Ahmad, Amir Mughal, Asghar Butt, Rai Hasnain Tahir, Haji Abdul Ghafoor, Moazzam Bhatti, Ijaz Mirza and Amir Sohail were injured by the stoning and were taken to hospital. Later, several journalists demonstrated against the ISO's attack and police's attitude. ISO Secretary General Syed Faisal Abbas Naqvi, however, issued a statement saying the ISO had not attacked the journalists whereas it was activists of the Jamiat Muntazar who took part in the assault. Lahore Police spokesman Athar Ali Khan said police arrested more than 160 rioters after the incident.More than 15 people including seven police officials were injured on Friday when activists of the Pakistan Islami Tehreek threw stones at policemen who tried to stop them from going to Parliament House. Police used tear gas and later baton charged the demonstrators at China Chowk. They were protesting the assassination of Agha Ziauddin.More than eight people received multiple injuries. Police arrested 40 people involved in the scuffle. Meanwhile, in Gilgit, Agha Ziauddin was laid to rest on the premises of the main Shia mosque at about 830pm.


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