Muslim clerics attack rally for missing Pakistani activists

An civil society activist argues with police officers during a rally demanding recovery of the missing persons in Karachi, Pakistan, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. Pakistani police say a clash has been averted between the supporters of missing human rights activists and clerics in southern port city of Karachi. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani police say Muslim clerics attacked a rally calling for the release of five anti-Taliban activists and bloggers who went missing earlier this month.

Police official Niaz Kundi says the clerics hurled bricks at the rally in the southern city of Karachi on Thursday without wounding anyone, and were later dispersed by police.

The clerics accuse the activists of posting blasphemous content online.

The five include university professor Salman Haider, known for criticizing the Taliban and the government, and Shiite activist Samar Abbas, who heads the Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan.

No militant group has claimed to have abducted the activists and no government department or intelligence agency has said it detained them. Pakistan's Interior Ministry said Thursday it is making every effort to locate and retrieve the activists.

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