Islamabad: Pakistan Rangers have taken control of the sit-in area after reportedly a clash erupted between protestors and paramilitary forces at Islamabad’s Faizabad Interchange in Islamabad early on Sunday.
According to Radio Pakistan, Rangers have cordoned off the IJP Road, Expressway, Murree Road and the Faisal Avenue.
As per reports, the situation now is calm in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Earlier, at least six people were killed and hundreds injured after the police crackdown on the protestors, who had camped outside Faizabad Interchange for nearly three weeks, turned violent.
According to Dawn, those killed were identified as Hafiz Mohammad Adeel, Jahanzaib Butt, Abdul Rehman, Mohammad Sharjeel, Zohaib Ahmed and Mohammad Irfan.
According to a senior police official, no security personnel was killed in the clashes, however, a number of senior police officials sustained injuries.
Meanwhile, the media blockade continues in the country, pushing it behind a virtual wall. The series of events have left Pakistan isolated and nobody seems to know what is happening in the country.
According to reports, even after the civilian government asking the Army for help, the Commander 111 brigade, which generally takes minutes to enter the capital, was not seen anywhere.
The army’s reluctance in showing competence, when the nation perhaps needs it the most, may be encouraging the hardliners more with assurance of protection.
The civilian government had requested the Commander 111 Brigade directly, as per the mail that was leaked to the Pakistan media, violating the protocol. The proper channel would have been through the Chief of Army Staff General (COAS), Qamar Javed Bajwa, according to the sources. Several hours later, there was no sign of any army movement in Islamabad or Rawalpindi.
The ‘Faizabad dharna’ started after the cleric, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, and his followers were demanding resignation of Pakistani law minister Zahid Hamid, as they saw the change in the words of an oath taken by the lawmakers as blasphemy.
Though the change has been reversed, the protesters continue to demand Hamid’s resignation.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had warned it would not cover Faizabad sit-in during a police crackdown on the protestors. Following the PEMRA order, there was a media blackout in Islamabad, where almost all leading private TV channels went off air. (ANI)