Friday, 15 December, 2017

Pakistan calls in the army to tackle violent protests

Courts Blast Government Over Protest Paralysis Policeman martyred, dozens injured in Islamabad clashes
Cecilia Poole | 26 November, 2017, 00:57

Scores of protesters also came out on the roads in various cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, and other cities of Punjab, and in the Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, to protest the crackdown in Islamabad.

Government orders troop deployment after clashes between anti-blasphemy protesters and police leave over 170 injured.

About 100 protesters were arrested Saturday, said Fakhar Sultan, a police officer in Rawalpindi city.

A court had given the government until 18 November to clear the protests by any means necessary, but attempts at peaceful resolution had failed.

Mass protests have been ongoing in Islamabad for several weeks already after the authorities chose to amend the Election Act by excluding a provision that had obliged candidates to confirm the Finality of Prophethood, which is the unanimous belief of the Muslim world that the Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet of Allah.

Latest reports from Pakistan said that at least 110 people, including 30 policemen and 14 FC personnel, have been injured in Islamabad operation. "They have fired tear gas shells [at security forces], they also cut the fibre optic cables of cameras that were monitoring their protest".

Private TV stations were ordered off the air, with only state-run television broadcasting. Social media networks including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were also blocked in various parts of the country.

Protesters want Hamid to resign over the matter.

"Patients dying for want of access to hospitals, traders crying for lack of business activity, students are being deprived from their right to education and [the] right of free movement of nearly six million people of [the] twin cities [is being] usurped", he said.

According to Waqt News, the security forces had dispersed half of protesters from sit-in while all protesters were dispersed from Faizabad interchange. "First, they stole our mobiles and wallets, and then they beat us mercilessly with sticks and their fists", he said. Dr. Mohammad Altaf Hussain, at Islamabad's main hospital, said 186 people were brought from the rally with minor injuries and respiratory problems.

Rizvi, who leads the Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah, is demanding the resignation of Pakistan's law minister, Zahid Hamid.

Recent reports suggest that protestors have returned to Faizabad Exchange, where they are being addressed by their leaders.

In Lahore, an unruly mob torched a vehicle and damaged others with stoning and staged sit-ins at four key areas in the city.

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