Asia Bibi's acquittal: Roads in major cities blocked as protests continue for third day

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KARACHI: Flow of traffic resumed on a few routes as religious parties continued their protests for a third day, but major roads still remained blocked in several cities across the country.
Protests had erupted in several cities after the Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges.
Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi has said the government is in consultation with the opposition for bringing the country-wide protests to an end. Afridi said the government will deal with those protesting over Asia Bibi’s acquittal through dialogue and will take action in case of violence.
As the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) had called for a shutter-down strike, commuters were advised to avoid the following routes:

Karachi

In the financial hub, roads began to clear up for traffic on Friday evening with major routes such as Malir, Kala Board, Mauripur Bus Terminal, PIDC Chowk, road from FTC to Kala Pull opening up for routine traffic, while traffic still remained suspended on at least 30 points in the city.

Traffic police said that flow of traffic has resumed on Mirza Adam Khan Road, Manghopir road, Daud Chowrangi, Malir Mandir, Jamali bridge Super Highway, and Paradise Chowk.

Earlier in Karachi, roads were blocked in at least 30 places.

PIDC Chowk, Teen Talwar, Nazimabad, Liaquatabad, Star Gate at Shahra-e-Faisal, Native Jetty Bridge, Baloch Colony Expressway, Numaish, Sohrab Goth, Korangi Crossing, Korangi 5, Korangi 3, Korangi 2.5, Ranchor Line, Power House Chowrangi, Nagan Chowrangi, Qayyumabad, Murtaza and Bilal Chowrangi, New Karachi, Surjani Town, Landhi 89, Landhi 5, Landhi 6 and Teen Hatti were blocked.

Garden, Tower, roads near the Furniture Market and Shoe Market, Baldia, Sakhi Hasan Road, Godhra Chowk, Liaquatabad Dakkhana, and Bara Board/Pak Colony have also been blocked.

The road to Jinnah International Airport from Star Gate was blocked and commuters were advised to use the University Road.

Meanwhile, Boat Basin, Wireless Gate, Sultanabad, Lasbela, Mirza Adam Khan Road, Hub River, and Northern Bypass which had earlier been blocked were now open for traffic, according to the traffic police spokesperson.

Roads had also been blocked at four places in Hyderabad. Hyder Chowk, Abdul Qayyum Road, Bacha Khan Road and Makki Shah Road were blocked.
The entry points to Karachi had also been blocked, affecting traffic from Hyderabad to Karachi.

Lahore

Roads were blocked at Charing Cross at Mall Road, Data Darbar, Shahdara Chowk, Kalma Chowk, Bhatta Chowk and Ferozepur Road.

Roads leading to Muridke, Nathe Khalsa, Paka Meel and Mohlanwal have also been blocked.

Further, roads leading to Sialkot from Daska, Pasrur and Sambrial have also been blocked. Roads are also blocked at various points in Gujranwala.

The Lahore Police also took to Twitter and announced, “Provocative speech and unlawful use of loud speaker are not allowed, citizens may contact the police via 8330 (SMS), 0336 9221515 (Whatsapp) or 15 (call) to share such kind of information.”

Islamabad

All roads in Islamabad except the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Faizabad Interchange are open for traffic, according to the traffic police spokesperson.

Tramri chowk and road from Rawal road to Tramri is also blocked for traffic, said traffic police.

Roads at Dhoke Kala Khan and Karal Chowks that were earlier blocked are now open for traffic, the spokesperson added.

Further, roads leading to Taxila, Pir Sohawa, Sarai Alamgir and Gujrat are blocked.

Motorways

Earlier in the day, National Highways and Motorway Police spokesperson said all motorways were closed for traffic.

Earlier, M-2 from Islamabad to Lahore, M-3 from Pindi Bhattian to Faisalabad and M-4 from Faisalabad to Gojra have been closed, according to a Motorways Police official.

In evening, Traffic police said that Motorway M1 Peshawar to Islamabad has been opened for every type of traffic.

Peshawar

In Peshawar, the Ring Road and GT Road have been blocked. Roads leading to the motorway have also been blocked.
On Wednesday, following the protests, Section 144 was imposed across Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan barring the gathering of more than four persons in public places as well as pillion riding. Section 144 has been imposed till November 10.

Train operations affected

According to Railways officials, Jaffar Express from Peshawar to Quetta which was scheduled to depart at 6am has been delayed without any revised schedule.

The Awam Express from Peshawar to Karachi was also unable to depart for the metropolis. Khushal Khan Khattak Express has been delayed and is expected to depart for Karachi at 5pm.

Meanwhile, Karachi-bound Khyber Mail will now depart at 10pm after a two-day delay.

Mobile phone services suspended in four cities

Mobile phone services were suspended in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Gujranwala from 8am till Maghrib.

As per latest update, cell phone services have been partially restored in Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Gujranwala.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had announced that the mobile phone services would be suspended in the four cities.

Educational institutions across Pakistan closed

Majority of educational institutions across the country have been closed today. Private and public educational institutions are closed across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh’s Karachi.
All universities, colleges and schools across Punjab are closed today. Punjab government’s Higher Education Department in a notification said that all public and privately managed universities and colleges in Punjab will remain closed today. All private schools in Southern Punjab are also closed.
On Thursday, Sindh Minister for Education Sardar Shah said that institutions across the province will remain open as per schedule except for in Karachi. Private schools in Karachi have been closed today following an announcement by the All Sindh Private Schools Association.
Meanwhile, all schools and colleges in Peshawar have been closed today, however, universities are open. KP Adviser Education Ziaullah Bangash said that all government schools will remain open today and studies will resume. However, two associations on private schools had announced that private schools will remain closed today.

All private and public schools and colleges across Balochistan are also closed.