ISLAMABAD: An ongoing operation against illegal settlements in the I-11 sector of Islamabad turned violent when protesters clashed with police and law enforcement agencies on Thursday.
At least three people have been injured in the clash, while around a dozen protesters were reportedly arrested. A heavy contingent of the police and Rangers used baton charge and tear gas to dispel protesting residents of the Afghan basti who pelted stones at the security officials.
Read: Eviction drive in I-11: Major eviction operation at I-11 slum likely today
Two cranes, bulldozers and other heavy machinery of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) was being used in the operation to demolish the Afgan Basti, which was initiated on the directions of the interior ministry.
Some 1,500 personnel of the LEAs dispersed most of the protestors and the demolition has once again gained pace.
In the first phase today, 250 to 300 plots, allotted to different people, were cleared from the encroachers, who had been living in the area for the last 20 to 25 years.
Not all residents are Afghan with many from Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, who workat the nearby Sabzi Mandi.
Read: I-11 settlements: Eviction drive against residents halted
On Wednesday morning, strong resistance from residents along with infighting between the capital’s civic agency and the administration resulted in postponement of the drive.
However, by nightfall, a series of meetings took place between representatives of Islamabad Capital Territory administration, Capital Development Authority and the interior ministry wherein it was decided to initiate the full-fledged operation against the settlement.
Read: Slum situation: In lieu of whole settlement, CDA to accept 250 plots
Phase I of the operation has been completed and more machinery has been sought to expedite the drive.
A six day old child apparently died of suffocation in I-11 on Thursday.
According to an Awami Worker Party spokesperson, the child died of suffocation from tear gas as CDA officials, police and residents clashed.
The child was not taken to a hospital, with its funeral prayers being offered at a mosque in the locality.