Bungled operation buoys protesters

Published: November 27, 2017
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS Murree Road has been blocked to stop supporters of Dr Tahirul Qadri from reaching Benazir International Airport. PHOTO: NNI

ISLAMABAD: Saturday’s botched police operation to clear Faizabad seems to have only emboldened the protesters as they have increased in numbers and extended the venue of their sit-in. Thousands of police and Frontier Constabulary personnel, who earlier surrounded the sit-in from all four corners, have now retreated.

The Punjab Rangers, who were earlier at the backend of the police and FC, have been deployed around the sit-in.

However, the deployment of Rangers could not improve the law and order situation as they were thin in numbers.

They stood disinterested at a distance while hundreds of protesters equipped with rods and sticks policed and harassed locals and journalists alike.

The protesters also continued their occupation at the defaced entrance of the house of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Faizabad crackdown: We can’t use force against our own people, says COAS

There is destruction all around Faizabad, particularly on the Murree Road. Dozens of public and private vehicles are lying burnt in the middle of the road. A number of houses, shops, a fuel station, road railings, metro bus stations and countless other public and private properties have been damaged by the mob.

Stick-wielding scouts of protesters are deployed along hundreds of metres on the Murree Road. They keep a close eye on the passers-by and commuters and do not allow anybody to capture the destruction on camera. A number of media-persons have been harassed for trying to take photos of the destruction of properties. A few journalists nabbed by the mob were only released after they deleted the images and videos from their cameras. The protesters enjoy a free hand on IJP Road, Murree Road and the Expressway. Their numbers have also swelled after Saturday’s operation.

Protesters also set five more motorcycles and a police vehicle on fire on Sunday in Kachnar Park.

Supreme Court takes notice of Faizabad sit-in

Meanwhile, police have registered more cases against the protesters following Saturday’s action, taking the tally of FIRs against Faizabad protesters to 24. The police officials, however, kept mum over the number of protesters they had picked up on Saturday. SSP Operations Sajid Kiani did not respond to the queries.

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