CHINIOT: Fierce sectarian clashes are feared in the city as police imprisoned at least 150 people under terrorism charges on Wednesday. According to news presence of Malik Ishaq, defunct chief of Lashkar I Jhangvi created unpleasant situation in the city.
Firebrand cleric was a chief guest at an Iftar Party arranged at Jamia Masjid Siddique Akbar. During his address to the gathering some of the participants raised slogans against Shia sect.
Persons belonging to sect Shia responded to the slogans from outside the mosque by aerial firing. Reportedly guards present inside mosque also resorted to aerial firing.
Taking stock of the situation, heavy police contingent arrived on the spot and dispersed the crowd. This prompted Malik Ishaq to leave the area immediately. After the incident city remained gripped by tension and police continued to patrol the area.
Majority of the arrested people belong to Shia sect.
Before being declared as a district itself Chiniot was Tehsil of District Jhang. Jhang has decades old history of sectarian violence. People of the area have good affiliation with religion but due to their illiteracy they have been trapped by different sectarian leaders.
Chiniot is especially sensitive because it also houses good numbers of Ahmadi, a minority group who claim to be Muslims. Anti Ahmadia sentiments are also prevalent in the society and are often fuelled by local clerics. Since decades local clerics have served as hate mongers.
Keeping in mind the sensitivity of the area law enforcement agencies has to be on their toes and should make efforts to pacify the situation. Any laxity in this regard may result into a humanitarian disaster.