Published: Sun, November 26, 2017
Tech | By Constance Martin

Army called in to secure capital

Army called in to secure capital

Following the protests in Islamabad, protests in other cities were also reported. The police action and reaction from protesters, who had camped out at the venue for the last 20 days, sent scores of injured police and protesters to hospitals with injuries caused by stoning and respiratory problems from tear gas.

State television stations reported that security forces had temporarily suspended their operations.

The interior minister reiterated that the government was attempting to clear the sit-in as part of its legal obligations after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the capital administration to evict protesters from Faizabad last Friday.

The group is demanding the resignation of the country's law minister for what it considers blasphemy after amended parliamentary bills weakened rules that require lawmakers to reference the Prophet Mohammed when taking their oaths.

Latest reports from Pakistan said that at least 110 people, including 30 policemen and 14 FC personnel, have been injured in Islamabad operation.

Pakistan's media regulator barred local TV channels from broadcasting live images from the scene, though protesters were still using Facebook Live and other social media.

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The clashes started after police officials surrounded the protesters at the sit-in area in Faizabad, on the road which connects Rawalpindi to Islamabad.

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.

Liaquat Kazmi, 30, was standing outside his home near the Faizabad interchange, where the protest is centred, when he was manhandled and beaten by police as the crackdown got under way.

Protesters want Hamid to resign over the matter. "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.

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

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. Dr. Mohammad Altaf Hussain, at Islamabad's main hospital, said 186 people were brought from the rally with minor injuries and respiratory problems. Hamid's residence in Sialkot was also attacked.

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