ISLAMABAD: Over a dozen people, including police and Frontier Constabulary personnel, were injured when clashes erupted between protesters and security personnel near Faizabad after a constable was reportedly picked up and manhandled.
Both sides pelted each other with stones and police also resorted to baton charging the demonstrators, police said.
On Wednesday evening, a police constable who had gone to offer prayers at the Masjid Rehmanina in I-8/4 was waylaid while performing ablutions.
He was dragged to the main road, where protesters began to beat him, sources said, adding that security personnel deployed around the spot saw the protesters beating a constable and rushed to his rescue.
The protesters pelted police with stones and police and FC officials retaliated in the same coin.
Over a dozen injured as police, FC try to rescue ‘abducted’ constable
The situation in and around Faizabad became very tense as a result of the confrontation and a number of demonstrators climbed on top of the container placed on the Islamabad Expressway and chanted slogans. This also resulted in a physical confrontation as protesters and security personnel attacked each other.
Although the security officials were able to push back the charged protesters, about a dozen officials, including a superintendent of police (SP), and six FC personnel suffered injuries.
The constable fractured his hand and thumb, while another suffered a severe head injury. All the injured were shifted to hospital for medical assistance.
Some protestors were also injured in the clash, sources said.
Following the altercation, the anti-riot unit and armoured personnel carriers were brought to the frontlines to deter further violence.
A police officer told Dawn the force was ready to take action against the protesters and was well-prepared to deal with any eventuality. “However, the interior minister has asked us to wait, as the government is working on a political solution,” he added.
He claimed that security officials only “retaliate for self-defence and to rescue officials picked up by the protesters”.
Mohammad Asghar adds: Over 150 people arrested during skirmishes between police and protesters at Faizabad have been shifted to Central Jail Adiala so far.
Sources say that those arrested from Faizabad are driven straight to Adiala and are not kept in police lockups due to fear of reprisals against the installation by their supporters.
Insiders put the number of people languishing in Adiala at around 175, but this is expected to rise to over 200 over the next 24 hours.
In Rawalpindi, senior police officers have been chalking out a strategy to cope with the situation that would emerge if they receive orders to assist Islamabad police in clearing Faizabad Interchange, which has been blocked by protesters from the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah for more than a fortnight.
A senior police official said the force is fully prepared and awaiting orders to move to Faizabad. Extra personnel from the Punjab Constabulary and other districts have already been called in to assist local police in case the protesters move towards Rawalpindi from Faizabad.
Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2017