Army secure PTV headquarters after protesters storm building

Published: September 1, 2014
Soldiers stand guard outside the headquarters of state-owned Pakistani Television (PTV) after the building was stormed by supporters of Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan during anti-government protests in Islamabad on September 1, 2014. PHOTO: AFP

Soldiers stand guard outside the headquarters of state-owned Pakistani Television (PTV) after the building was stormed by supporters of Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan during anti-government protests in Islamabad on September 1, 2014. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of PTI and PAT protesters briefly seized the state broadcaster Pakistan Television Corporation’s (PTV) headquarters on Monday, intensifying the political crisis gripping the country. 

Just before mid-day today, hundreds of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek supporters managed to storm their way through the main gate of the PTV headquarters.

Transmissions of PTV were cut after protesters armed with clubs stormed the building in Islamabad’s high-security “red zone”, before being removed by security forces after around half an hour.

All entrances to PTV headquarters were occupied by supporters as they began to damage the property, working their way through the first, second and third floors. Wires were cut as protesters entered the panel room, which led to a temporary breakdown of all PTV transmission.

“They have stormed the PTV office,” a news anchor said just before the screen went blank. “PTV staff performing their journalistic duties are being beaten up.”

A PTV source told Reuters the protesters had occupied the main control room and smashed some equipment. Later, television pictures showed uniformed members of a paramilitary force and soldiers walking calmly into the building. A Reuters witness said the soldiers escorted protesters out and placed the building under their protection.

There were no signs of violence and the protesters were seen leaving the building peacefully. The station later came back on the air.

PTV managing director Mohammed Malick told AFP the protesters had “ransacked” the building.

“They destroyed equipment and stole equipment. No one seriously injured but we’re pretty shaken up,” he said.

As security forces took their position inside the building, they attempted to speak to the protesters and tried to get PTV employees out of the building. The army gave protesters ten minutes to vacate the building and said that failure to do so would result in strict action against them.

Meanwhile outside the headquarters, demonstrators had written the name of Qadri and slogans such as “Inqilab” across the walls and on all cars in the vicinity. All pictures other than those of Qaid-e-Azam inside the building have also reportedly been destroyed and displaced.

Both Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri have denied instructing any of their protesters to storm PTV. They urged their supporters to maintain peace and not enter the PM house or any other building.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Dilip
    Sep 1, 2014 - 4:12PM

    Is this what is called PEACEFUL protest? This action could lead to chaos.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 1, 2014 - 4:40PM

    Taliban should learn from these 21st century anarchists. They have occupied state’s capital with state authorities help. All those who facilitated these anarchists, who allowed them to enter Islamabad, who blackmailed government to negotiate them and those who did not use force have committed treason.


  • Waseem Sarwar
    Sep 1, 2014 - 6:38PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    The only sane person in whole Pakistan is the one killed 14 innocent protesters in model town, lied to whole nation and even stole the mandate of people to form his fake government. These so called anarchists are way better than white color killer of Pakistanis.


  • MK
    Sep 1, 2014 - 6:44PM

    re: GULLU BUTT and Lahore.

    These people were protesting for two weeks with no issues at all, and all of a sudden this happens.


  • kulwant singh
    Sep 1, 2014 - 6:45PM

    Pray for peace in Pakistan.


  • Khan
    Sep 1, 2014 - 7:10PM

    Army secured the building without any state terror Punjab Police brand. Shouldn’t Ch Nisar and officials down the chain be charged with criminal use of force?


  • Sandip
    Sep 1, 2014 - 7:49PM

    Ok. So the script continues unfolding. Without the world noticing, 111 brigade has already taken over the PTV building. Tie this in with what Javed Hasmi said and the picture becomes quite clear. :)


  • Amir
    Sep 1, 2014 - 9:04PM

    Army secure the PTV building by requesting to protestor that please leave. No action has been taken against the people who have done all this. Shame on the system where criminals are commiting the crime in front of cameras and coming back home as heros.


  • Ricky
    Sep 2, 2014 - 8:09AM

    I am surprised that the army did not reward these extremists and miscreants. First they were playing footsy with Taliban now followers of IK and Qadri are their strategic assets.


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