Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Pakistani Government Calls in Army to Help Disperse Islamist Protesters

Tehreek-i-Labaik protestors shout slogans against government during a protest in Lahore Tehreek-i-Labaik protestors shout slogans against government during a protest in Lahore
Erik Tate | 26 November, 2017, 01:10

When police used tear gas to disperse them amid the traffic rush hours, protesters threw stones wounding 20 people, including two journalists.

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

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As the clashes intensified, Pakistan's powerful military chief phoned the prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to urge the situation be handled "peacefully", military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Twitter.

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. There are also reports of social media blackout in some parts of Pakistan.

"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.

Later in the morning, seminary students from Rawalpindi reinforced the protesters who pushed back police and Frontier Constabulary forces.

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

The Times reported at least 150 protesters were arrested.

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.

Later, news channels went off air, after a notification from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) barred them from broadcasting the security operation live.

"The administration is taking action under court order but still we are open for talks with them", he said, referring to the protesters.

Smaller demonstrations were breaking out in Lahore and other cities, according to local media. A mob attacked former Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan's house in Rawalpindi and broke the main gate of his house.

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