Probe into police torture of Faisalabad protesters launched, Senate told

June 13, 2013

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Angry traders and workers chant slogans next to burning tires during a demonstration against long hours breakdown of natural gas and electricity. — Photo by AP
Angry traders and workers chant slogans next to burning tires during a demonstration against long hours breakdown of natural gas and electricity. — Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was told Wednesday that probe into the police torture of protesters against electricity outages in Faisalabad has been launched and five policemen have already been suspended.

Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP) leader Senator Raza Rabbani drew the house's attention to the incident in which policemen, holding axe and batons, were seen torturing citizens who were protesting against the prolonged electricity loadshedding.

A large number of people from villages around Khurrianwala town vented their anger against power outages on Tuesday and attacked a grid station and offices of the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco). They blocked traffic on the Sheikhupura-Faisalabad road for about 10 hours and pelted police and vehicles with stones, causing injuries to four constables.

Police chased the protesters, entered a number of houses by scaling the walls or breaking open the gates and thrashed anyone they found there.

Policemen are reported to have abused and dragged women when they objected to their conduct.

A number of women and children who had not joined the protests were also mistreated.

More than 10 people were arrested from the houses.

IN today’s session of the Senate, Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq said Chief Minster Punjab Shahbaz Sharif had taken notice of the incident and suspended five policemen.

He said the investigation had been launched into the incident and action would be taken against those found involved.

Haq hoped that the incident would not be repeated in future. However, he added that the resolution of energy crisis was prerequisite in this regard.

He assured the upper house of parliament for maximum presence of the cabinet members during its proceedings, who would also responsibly respond to member's queries.

Later, Senator Babar Awan said the government should take notice of the planned repatriation of thousands of Pakistanis staying in Saudi Arabia as the overseas Pakistanis were the backbone of country's economy.