Dead, 150 Injured After Violent Clashes Between Forces And Islamist Protesters

Pakistani security forces clash with protesters

Pakistani security forces clash with protesters

Fresh protests were also springing up in other cities. The police action and reaction from protesters, who had camped out at the venue for the last 20 days, sent scores of injured police and protesters to hospitals with injuries caused by stoning and respiratory problems from tear gas.

About 100 protesters were arrested Saturday, said Fakhar Sultan, a police officer in Rawalpindi city.

Since Nov. 8, protesters have blocked a major road between Islamabad and Rawalpindi to highlight their demand for the resignation of Law and Justice Minister Zahid Hamid because of legislation that would scale back requirements for lawmakers to mention the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Witnesses said a group of baton-carrying protesters snatched a tear gas gun and a few shells from a constable and lobbed them at police. Karachi Police said almost 200 protesters blocked a major road in the southern port.

"At least 60 police officers, 45 FC men, and 50 civilians are among those injured", the newspaper says explaining how the figure of casualties is expected to rise as violence spreads to other parts.

The army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, advised Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday to "handle the Islamabad dharna peacefully".

After Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) ordered to take all news channels off air, social media access via internet browsers to Facebook, Youtube and Twitter were also temporarily blocked on Saturday.

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In April 2017, a Pakistan military court found him guilty of "espionage and sabotage" and sentenced him to death. The Pak foreign minister had also said that terrorists like Hafiz Saeed are a liability for Pakistan.

But protest leaders were adamant and refused to clear the intersection unless the law minister resigned.

Officials said that more than 200 people, including police, were injured in the rock throwing and taken to three hospitals in the area.

According to Waqt News, the security forces had dispersed half of protesters from sit-in while all protesters were dispersed from Faizabad interchange.

The Islamabad High Court's scolding came one day after the Supreme Court also rejected the government's claim that using force on the protesters could result in injuries and deaths which would foment further unrest in the country.

The protesters, belonging to the Tehreek-e-Labbaik, broke into and ransacked the minister's haveli, Express News reported. "First, they stole our mobiles and wallets, and then they beat us mercilessly with sticks and their fists", he said.

Malik Mohammad Ahmed, the spokesman for Punjab government, said enraged protesters in Rawalpindi attacked the residence of the former interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar, damaging the main gate.

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