Islamabad: A banned Pakistani sectarian group today staged a protest march in the capital Islamabad over the alleged targeted killings of its supporters. Dozens of supporters of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), an anti-Shia group, marched from Islamabad’s Red Mosque to the parliament house. During the march, led by the outfit’s Islamabad president Ghulam Mustafa Baloch, the protesters raised slogans in support of their fallen supporters.
The protesters were, however, stopped by police just before they entered the city’s Red Zone, where many important government buildings are located. The group later called off their protests after the police assured them of setting up a special team to investigate the alleged killings.
ASWJ, a reincarnation of the banned Sunni militant group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), was outlawed in February 2012. Despite the ban, the ASWJ continues to operate in the country with religious conferences and demonstrations held in different cities from time to time and no apparent action from the authorities.
ASWJ supporters have been targeted in three incidents of sectarian violence this year. Two days ago, senior ASWJ leader Mohammad Fayyaz Khan was gunned down in Karachi. ASWJ and Shia groups often accuse each other of killing their workers and leaders.