Pakistan calls in the army to tackle violent protests

Randall Padilla
November 26, 2017

A protester walks near burning tents during clashes with police at Faizabad junction in Islamabad, Pakistan November 25, 2017.

Local media reported that one police officer had been killed in the clashes, but a spokesman for Islamabad police, Naeem Iqbal, denied the accounts.

The protesters, who before Saturday numbered some 2,000 people, are demanding that Pakistan's law minister Zahid Hamid resign over a hastily-abandoned amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear.

Police used tear gas and water cannons and fought running battles with stone-throwing protestors, as they moved to clear a protest by the religious hard-liners who have blocked main routes into Islamabad for more than two weeks.

Earlier in the day, security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets as the demonstrators burned police vehicles around the site of the sit-in.

But protest leaders were adamant and refused to clear the intersection unless the law minister resigned. There were protests reported from Karachi, Lahore, Faislabad, Peshawar and the Silakot-Wazirabad road in Punjab province.

The protests, which spread on Saturday to several other cities in Pakistan, have left about 200 injured, including dozens of police officers.

Policeman fires at protesters
Policeman fires at protesters

Twitter has been blocked in Pakistan. Social media platforms also appeared to be temporarily suspended.

Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa telephoned Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and discussed the ongoing situation regarding the crackdown on protesters in Islamabad.

"We are aware of reports that the Pakistani government has taken action to block Twitter service, as well as other social media services, and that users are having difficulty using Twitter in Pakistan".

Authorities have hesitated to act against the sit-in, citing fears of violence as the demonstrators have vowed to die for their cause.

As the dialogue failed to produce any results, we also saw Islamabad High Court issuing contempt of court notice to Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal for failing to end the sit-in, which we, understand should have been issued to the organisers of the protestors who were not ready to show any flexibility in their stance having no basis as their demands were also already met by not only restoring Khatam-i-Nabuwwat laws but making them more effective.

Meanwhile, severe clashes were going on between personnel of LEAs consisting of police, FC & Rangers and protesters.

The government was accused by the critics, of bungling its response to the protest, and allowing a minor issue to grow into a headline-grabbing and potentially unsafe situation.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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