By Sarmad Ali
(Pak Destiny) Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has called the military in capital Islamabad to maintain law and order after police tried to end 20-day sit-in in Faizabad staged by Islamist bralvi sect Tahreek-i-Labaik Pakistan through force that resulted in six casualties and injuries to over 200.
The request was made by Islamabad Capital Territory authorities, according to an interior ministry order. “The federal government has authorised the deployment of sufficient troops to control law and order in the city until further notice.”
Some 9,000 riot police and paramilitary personnel on Saturday fired tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon at the protesters in an attempt to dislodge them from a major highway into Islamabad.
Protesters, numbering as many as 2,000, stood their ground, fighting back by throwing stones and beating police with sticks and metal rods in running battles that continued throughout the day. The protesters blocked the Islamabad expressway, the main road into the capital, since November 8, demanding the resignation of Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid over a perceived softening of the state’s position on blasphemy. Protesters in other cities of Punjab also held sit-ins cutting Lahore and other districts from the rest of the country.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the government is acting to clear the sit-in protest on the order of the Islamabad High Court.
“During the clashes some six people were killed and 200 injured,” a senior police officer told Pak Destiny. He said the situation is still tense. The government has withdrawn the riot police from Faizabad and the disrupted sit-in still gets back to its old position. The government now seems to be on receiving end as the protesters are now demanding resignation of the Abbasi government not the law minister alone. – Pak Destiny