Pakistan calls on army to restore order as blasphemy protests spread

Latest world news      Six dead 230 injured as protest creates havoc in Islamabad
Latest world news Six dead 230 injured as protest creates havoc in Islamabad

26 November, 2017

Two people have died and more than 200 others have been injured as police and paramilitary troops in the Pakistani capital moved Saturday to end a two-week protest, hospital officials said.

The interior ministry on Saturday afternoon issued a notification regarding the deployment of Pakistan Army in the federal capital after fierce clashes between security forces and Tehreek activists turned violent.

They also pelted stones on the security personnel who used batons and teargas shells to disperse them.

More than 8,000 personnel of police and paramilitary Rangers and Frontier Constablary launched the crackdown to clear Faizabad interchange linking Islamabad with garrison city of Rawalpindi and the only worldwide airport of the capital.

Ahsan Iqbal said the protesters wanted to replicate the Lal Masjid and Model Town type incidents, but the government was showing restraint to resolve the issue amicably.

Dawn and Geo News reported that there are prison vans, ambulances at the site.

The protesters are demanding that law minister Zahid Hamid resign over a hastily-abandoned amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear.

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The security forces could not arrest the sit-in leadership including Khadim Hussain Rizvi till now.

Police have also used water cannons to disperse the protesters after the capital was paralysed due to the sit-in which has been ongoing for nearly three weeks.

Recent reports suggest that protestors have returned to Faizabad Exchange, where they are being addressed by their leaders. Lahore's entry and exist points have been blocked by the protesters.

The government also shut down Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in Islamabad and Rawalpindi to block coverage of the operation. Severe traffic jams, closed schools, suffering businesses all were the cons of this protest.

Apart from the capital, protests are reportedly taking place in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi and northern district of Sialkot.

Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa telephoned Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and discussed the ongoing situation regarding the crackdown on protesters in Islamabad.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority told TV channels not to broadcast footage of the operation and took all channels off air.

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