Protesters deliver psychological blow to police force

Published September 2, 2014
An FC officer and injured protesters rest at Polyclinic. — Dawn
An FC officer and injured protesters rest at Polyclinic. — Dawn

ISLAMABAD: City police suffered a psychological blow in their confrontation with the anti-government protesters on the Constitution Avenue on Monday when their commander, SSP Operations Asmatullah Junejo, ended up in hospital with serious injuries after a clash with the protesters in the Red Zone.

A doctor at the Federal Government Services Hospital confided to Dawn that the officer had marks and swellings all over his body and a particularly bad blow to the back of his head, when brought to the hospital, better known as Polyclinic, around 11am.

“Particularly worrying was a bad blow to the back of his head, which made him vomit thrice,” he said on condition of anonymity. “After receiving the initial treatment in the Emergency, he wanted to rejoin his force in the action but collapsed and fell unconscious.”

That made the Polyclinic refer the officer to the Neurology Department of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) where he underwent CT scan and was put in the Intensive Care Unit for 24 hours.


SSP Asmatullah Junejo in hospital after battle injuries


Pims spokesman Dr Altaf Hussain later said SSP Junejo was in stable condition and out of danger. “The CT scan report is fine, there is no fracture in his body but he will have to stay in the hospital for at least 24 hours,” Dr Altaf Hussain, spokesman for Pims, said.

His confinement in hospital came as a psychological blow to his force because he had provided them a spirited lead in defending the red lines, set by the government that the law enforcers had been ceding to the protesters so far.

But injuries among the law enforcement personnel have risen with the PTI and PAT protesters becoming ever more belligerent since the police went after them firing teargas and rubber bullets over the weekend.

SSP Asmatullah Junejo owes his elevation to operational tasks on Sunday night to his reputation of a pro-active police officer. Before him two officers senior to him had declined to take up the job.

Only hours later, his command faced a serious setback when PTI and PAT protesters penetrated law enforcers turf and stormed the PTV headquarters around 10:30am on Monday.

SSP Junejo arrived at the scene to lead his men in confronting the protesters, even without wearing protective gear. He raced ahead of his own squad of more than a dozen policemen and was surrounded and thrashed by the onrushing, stick-wielding protesters, with only his personal ‘operator’ Sajjad by his side.

“Sajjad also is lying in the surgical ward of Pims with multiple body and head wounds. His condition is stable and out of danger,” said Pims spokesman Dr Altaf Hussain.

Pims records show that twice as many injured protesters were brought to hospital than injured law enforcers on Saturday night when police operation began. Of the total 302 casualties registered, 104 were police and FC personnel. Twenty-nine of them are still undergoing treatment.

In contrast, the 20 injured brought to Pims on Monday, nine were police and FC personnel. Most of them were discharged.

Comparative figures for the Polyclinic on Monday were 24 admissions, 21 of whom belonged to Punjab police and Frontier Constabulary. And 17 of them were detained for treatment.

Interestingly, three injured belonging to PTI and two to PAT lying in the Gynaecology Ward of Polyclinic, alongside one FC and one Punjab police constable are found blaming each other for their miseries but also caring and sharing at the same time.

Polyclinic has treated 312 casualties of the confrontations in the Red Zone - 75 of them police and FC personnel and 171 male and 52 women and 14 children protesters.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2014

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