ISLAMABAD: It was a day of total chaos for people of the twin-cities. Suffering complete information blackout, the citizens of the federal capital and the garrison city suffered the brunt of crackdown on the Faizabad sit-in.
Routine life was paralysed leaving educational, trade business activities suspended besides on-going National T20 matches and weddings cancelled and rescheduled.
The deadline of 7:30am set by the government coincided with the time children head to schools and people to their work.
Although the deadline had been announced, the city administrators did not announce public holiday and early risers were caught in the melee of action against protesters.
However, as soon as the bedlam broke, educational institutions, offices and markets closed down, leaving people stranded. While many roads were closed and there was hardly any public transport causing great encumbrance to people trying to reach home – particularly those who had to cross the war zone.
All the major markets and business complexes remained shut during the day as people hunkered in their homes enquiring about each other’s wellbeing on phones and social media that too was to go away along with news channels.
Government had declared emergency in all public hospitals to deal with the casualties of the crackdown.
About six protesters died and some 280 security officials, protesters, and citizens injured during clashes that erupted when the government started operation to remove the protesters from Faizabad Interchange they had occupied for over three weeks.
At least six people died and, according to hospital official, they all were protesters.
Two casualties brought to Banazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH), Rawalpindi where declared dead on arrival and shifted to District Headquarter Hospital for post-mortem.
Another three protestors were brought dead with gunshot wounds, officials at BBH informed.
An unconscious man was taken to Holy Family Hospital, wherein hospital staff said they tried to revive him but he could not regain conscious.
Some 45 injured were also taken to hospital. About four lady health workers who were busy in anti-polio vaccination campaign in Rawalpindi were injured and some passers-by too who were stuck between clashes. They were brought to BBH and later discharged after first aid.
Some 25 injured were taken to Holy Family Hospital and of them some eight were security personal and the rest were civilian and protesters. Only two of them were critical.
Over 200 people including security officials, protesters, passer-by and residents injured and suffered suffocation due to teargas shelling.
Most of the security officials and protesters were brought to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) where they were treated for minor injuries.
About 190 injured were brought to Pims and majority of them were police officials and FC personnel. According to officials, 73 were police officials, 64 FC personnel and 53 protesters. Majority of the injured had minor injuries and were discharged after first aid, said Pims Emergency Department Deputy Director Farrukh Kamal.
Most of the injured, he said, had sustained stone, rubber bullet injuries and some had fractures.
At Federal Government Services Hospital (Polyclinic Hospital) too some 19 injured were brought and of them of them two were protesters a passer-by, and the rest were police officials.
Most of the police officials were hit by stones, officials said. Mohammad Azhar, who was passing by from the riot-hit area was also hit by rubber bullet and sustained injuries on right thigh.
Seven busses carrying children and teachers out on excursion trip to Khewra were left stranded on the Motorway near Sayal Mor due to the protests erupting following action against the Faizabad sit-in.
The Motorways and National Highway Police (NHMP) personnel, realising the plight of little children stuck in logjam, brought refreshments, mineral water bottles and some good cheer.
The NHMP facilitated the busses to get cleared.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2017.