Some twenty Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) students blocked Bhekewal Mor in a protest against the police for not recovering a student allegedly abducted five days ago and who mysteriously reappeared later on Monday.
The protesters from Government Science College burnt tyres and blocked the road at the intersection of Wahdat Road and Iqbal Town Main Boulevard, causing a chaotic traffic situation for about 90 minutes in the afternoon. They later dispersed on their own.
The protesting students charged at and struck vehicles that tried to make their way past.
Muhafiz Squad personnel stood nearby but did not seek to stop the protests.
No FIR was registered against the protesters, who told The Express Tribune that they were with the IJT, the student wing of Jamaat-i-Islami.
The protesters said that they were seeking the return of fellow student Muhammad Ramazan, who according to an FIR lodged at Iqbal Town police station, went missing on April 16 on his way from the college hostel to Faisalabad. His brother Muhammad Aslam, the complainant in the FIR, told the police that Ramazan was coming to visit him and collect his college fees for the next semester.
But on Monday evening, Aslam told the police that Ramazan had been found and he was taking him to Okara to recuperate, said Inspector Imran Haider, who is in charge of investigations at Iqbal Town police station.
He said that Aslam had told the police that Ramazan had been poisoned and stuffed into the trunk of a car. He said that Aslam had not explained how he found his brother.
He said that the story was incomplete and he would interrogate Ramazan once he returned.
Haider speculated that Ramazan may have deliberately gone missing so he could skip the semester exams. “It has almost become standard practice these days,” he said. “Students go missing for a day to two and then reappear with a sloppy story.”
Jamshed, a Forman Christian College student who was caught up in the protest on his motorbike, said the protesters should have been arrested and charged with being a public nuisance. “Is it my fault that someone got abducted? Every other day students from Government Science College block the road in a protest,” he said.
Usman Shah, a motorist who tried to make his way past the protesters but had to turn back, said that the police should have been able to end the protest quickly. “If ten to fifteen people can block the road, I don’t know what will become of this country,” he said.
He said the chief minister should instruct the police to stop all protests that block roads.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2012.