ISLAMABAD: Three district and sessions courts sent over 150 suspects to jail on 14-day remand on charges of provocation, rioting, assaulting law enforcers and ransacking public and government property during the recent protest held at the capital’s D-Chowk.
Over 150 suspects from a number of religious parties were rounded up by the police while around 20,000 other unnamed people have been booked for violating Section 144.
The police charged the suspects with destroying government and public property, assaulting law enforcers, snatching wireless sets from police and setting containers and other vehicles on fire.
Secretariat, Kohsar and I-9 police stations have separately arrested dozens of suspects for their alleged involvement in a number of offences. The police have booked 18,000 to 20,000 unidentified suspects for violating Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code while entering into the capital in a rally following Mumtaz Qadri’s Chelum procession.
The protesters had stormed the Red Zone in Islamabad on March 27 in support of Mumtaz Qadri, the executed killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, and laid siege to important government installations.
When the protesters started torching vehicles and property, the federal government requested the army to rein in the violent protesters.
The four-day-long sit-in was called off on the evening of March 30 following successful negotiations between the religious leaders and government.
The protesters claimed that the government agreed to their key demands, including an assurance the country’s blasphemy laws will not be amended.
Conversely, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan denied that any deal was struck with the protesters. Instead he claimed that the demonstrators called off their sit-in “on their own accord”.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2016.
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