Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Arson, Violence on Day of Mob Rule in Lahore

LAHORE, Feb 14: Two young men were killed and 20 suffered injuries when angry mobs, protesting against publication of sacrilegious caricatures of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) in a number of European newspapers turned violent.

The protesters ransacked and set on fire a number of buildings, including the Punjab Assembly, and hundreds of cars and motorcycles in the city on Tuesday.

The shooting, which claimed the two lives, occurred on Egerton Road where a bank security guard opened fire on approaching rioters. Three youngsters suffered bullet injuries and they were rushed to the Mayo Hospital.

One of the injured youngsters died on way to the hospital and another died after first aid dressing, said Dr Tariq at the emergency ward of the hospital. The deceased were identified as Muhammad Qaisar, 22, and Muhammad Rafiq, 25. He added that 13 injured people had been taken to the hospital. Of them, five suffered bullet injuries, he said, adding that three of them were in a critical condition.

Eyewitnesses and police said the establishments ransacked and set on fire by groups of rioters included a number of local and foreign banks, four restaurants of two American fast food chains, a Norwegian cellphone company's office, a five-star hotel, a cinema, a theatre, a number of petrol pumps and various shops.

A local report from Lahore yesterday. When and where will this madness end? And yes, absurd as it seems our choice of dining establishment on Tuesday night, does make what happened in Lahore as opposed to elsewhere in the Ummah more immediate and disturbing somehow.

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