“Then right after prayers end, the Jamaat cadres start organising and leading people out. Even apolitical people then become part and parcel of this larger gathering.”
However, liberals have refused to back down. They are trying to develop a more unified approach, forming the umbrella group, Citizens for Democracy, in December. After Bhatti’s murder, the group started the letter campaign “Silence Means More Blood” against violence and vigilante justice.
More than 300 prominent individuals, including academics, doctors, lawyers, businessmen and women, endorsed an open letter to the president, Asif Ali Zardari, and the prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, and other high-ranking politicians to protest Bhatti’s murder, said Mohsin Sayeed, a journalist in Karachi.
He said a “Day of Resistance” is to be held in Karachi on April 3 at the massive AMC Sports Complex.
“We are targeting at least 50,000 citizens. There will be dance and stage performances. There will be a Hyde Park corner of free speech. There will be seminars. Everything will be resistance-related. We are encouraging people to come out and say whatever they want to,” Mr Sayeed said, adding that information is being distributed through texting and social media.
“I feel we have to reclaim our space. We have to break the silence and for that we have to create awareness and engage people. We cannot pick up guns and start shooting, like our opponents.”