At least 10 people were injured in clashes between police and demonstrators Friday while shutdown called to protest the assassination of Pakistan leader Benazir Bhutto brought life to a halt in the Valley.
The call for strike was given by All Parties Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Shops and business establishments in main markets in the city remained closed, while public transport was largely affected. Attendance in government and semi-government offices remained thin.
Reports of protests and shutdown poured in from other towns in the Valley. A former prime minister of Pakistan and opposition leader Bhutto was killed in a suicide attack in Rawalpindi, Thursday.
At least 10 people were injured in clashes at different parts of the city as groups of youth indulged in stone-pelting and burning of tyres on the roads to protest the assassination.
The angry protesters pelted stones at police and chanted "We want freedom" and "Long live Pakistan”.
The clashes intensified in the vicinity of Jamia Masjid after Friday prayers where police fired dozens of teargas shells to chase away the protestors.
A Gayibana Nimaz-i-Jinazah (funeral prayers in absentia) for the slain leader was offered at Jamia Masjid where chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said Bhutto’s killing was a work of elements trying to destabilize Pakistan.
A large number of people started shouting slogans and resorted to heavy stone pelting on Police after the Friday congregation. Some youth in a crowd torched American flags. Anti-America and pro-Pakistan slogans were raised by the agitating protestors. Police lobbed a series of teargas shells to disperse the mob.
Sensing trouble, the administration had sounded alert for the security agencies, setting up extra checkpoints in the sensitive parts of the city.
Earlier in the day, groups of youth indulged in stone-pelting and burning of tyres at Dalgate, Babademb, Nowhatta Chowk, Rajouri Kadal, Alamgari Bazar and Kani Kadal.
In his address at the Friday prayers Mirwaiz said that Benazir Bhutto was serious about the resolution of Kashmir issue.
Mirwaiz said that during his recent meeting with Bhutto in Dubai last year, he found her more enthusiastic about Kashmir cause and said that she was of the view that proposals put forth by Pakistan need to deliberated upon in order to find an amicable solution to Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of Kashmiris.
He said that Bhutto’s efforts lead to the formation of Kashmir coordination group at the OIC. The Awami Action Committee has cancelled its Eid Millan programme, scheduled for Sunday. A condolence meeting of APHC constituents will be held at the party headquarters Saturday.