Pakistan calls in army to end anti-blasphemy protests

26 November, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • Tehreek-i-Labaik protestors shout slogans against government during a protest in Lahore

There were protests reported from Karachi, Lahore, Faislabad, Peshawar and the Silakot-Wazirabad road in Punjab province. The police was acting on a court order which directed that the protests be cleared.

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

On Friday, the Islamabad High Court ordered interior minister Ahsan Iqbal to appear in court next week and explain why he should not be charged with contempt for his failure to act, according to a court order issued by judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.

Mass protests have been ongoing in Islamabad for several weeks already after the authorities made a decision 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. "Suggested to handle Islamabad Dharna peacefully avoiding violence from both sides as it is not in national interest and cohesion", Major General Asif Ghafoor, the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in a tweet referring to the conversation between General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. There are also reports of social media blackout in some parts of Pakistan.

At least 111 of those injured in the clashes were members of the police or other security forces, said Dr. Farrukh Kamal, an official at the PIMS government hospital where most of the wounded were being treated.

Smoke and tear gas filled the air in the ongoing, hours-long bid by some 8,500 police as well as paramilitary Rangers and Frontier Corps forces to clear the demonstrators, which began soon after dawn. "They have fired teargas shells (at security forces), they also cut the fibre-optic cables of cameras monitoring their protest.They have inside information and resources that are being used against the state", he told DawnNews.

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

Officials said that more than 200 people, including police, were injured in the rock throwing and taken to three hospitals in the area.

According to Geo News, the angry protesters forcibly entered and ransacked the house of the law minister.

Faizabad sit-in was causing a chaotic situation in the capital city.

DawnNews reported that protesters tried to break into the residence of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in Faizabad.

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

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