Pakistani Police Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protesters in Islamabad

Posted November 26, 2017

Pakistan cracked down on radical Islamist protestors in Islamabad and Rawalpindi on Saturday, calling in the military to restore law and order after violence broke out following an attempt by security forces to disperse the demonstrators.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulating Authority (PEMRA) has issued coverage notice for electronic media and all satellite TV channels, the reports said.

At least one person was killed and over 200 injured after police moved in to break "blasphemy" protests.

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A Pakistani police officer aims his gun towards the protesters next to a burning police vehicle during a clash in Islamabad
A Pakistani police officer aims his gun towards the protesters next to a burning police vehicle during a clash in Islamabad

There is chaos in Islamabad in Pakistan after government action on thousands of protesters belonging to a religious outfit led to clashes. Social media networks including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were also blocked in various parts of the country.

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.

The interior minister said the protesters had also "contacted India", according to a report in the newspaper. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, head of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army's media wing, said that Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa telephoned Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and suggested that the sit-in be resolved peacefully. Nine people were injured and taken to a nearby hospital, doctors said.

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The Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday once again offered talks with sit-in protesters as embattled law enforcement agencies (LEAs) were fighting to free the Capital which had been under siege since 20 days.

The newspaper says 150 protesters were arrested as the operation kicked off.

"We can see that they have various resources at their disposal".

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Since Nov. 8, protesters have blocked a major road between Islamabad and Rawalpindi to highlight their demand for the resignation of Law and Justice Minister Zahid Hamid because of legislation that would scale back requirements for lawmakers to mention the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

Later in the day, security forces appeared to face difficulty clearing the crucial intersection as more and more supporters joined protesters at the site, a bridge between the capital and Rawalpindi.

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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