Islamabad crackdown: Protesters ransack Law Minister Zahid Hamid's house in Pasrur

26 November, 2017, 01:11 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • A supporter of the Tehreek-e Labaik Pakistan an Islamist political party gestures after blocking the main road leading to the airport in Karachi

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.

Security forces fought running battles with stone-throwing activists of the ultra-religious Tehreek-e-Labbaik, but failed to dislodge the activists blocking roads into Islamabad. Hospital officials said near 200 people were injured, a lot of them police.

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) ordered the suspension of TV news channels' broadcast, stating that live coverage of a security operation was a violation of media regulations.

Pakistan's Geo News reported that in Islamabad, protesters are firing teargas shells at the security forces.

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.

Major social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter have been shut down in major areas of Pakistan, according to reports.

Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa talked to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and asked him for a peaceful solution to the problem.

Dawn said nearly 8,000 security personnel started operation at 7 am after last deadline ended on Saturday. Nine people were injured and taken to a nearby hospital, doctors said.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, meanwhile, claimed that the protesters in Islamabad "contacted India" and that the Pakistan government is investigating the matter, a Dawn report said.

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

The protesters, who before Saturday numbered some 2,000 people, are demanding that federal law minister Zahid Hamid resign over a hastily-abandoned amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear.

The violent protests have spread to other cities including Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar.

Smaller demonstrations were breaking out in Lahore and other cities, according to local media.



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