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ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI: The army was called in to protect important installations in the capital, as Rangers personnel took up positions around the site of the sit-in on Sunday.

The army was summoned by the interior ministry in response to a request made by the capital administration on Saturday. Officials told Dawn their help was required as most of the local manpower was busy managing the protesters.

The death toll from the previous day’s police action rose to seven on Sunday after a 60-year-old protester died at Benazir Bhutto Hospital. Eight injured persons are still hospitalised in Rawalpindi.

The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah announced plans to observe a countrywide strike on Monday (today) to mourn the deaths of those killed in Saturday’s operation at Faizabad, even as protesters continued to clash with law enforcement personnel in various areas.

Religious parties to observe nationwide strike today

Religious groups continued to block roads and also delayed railway operations over the weekend, while most motorways and highways were closed as protesters blocked major routes.

Protesters also stormed the residences of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Bilal Yasin, Manshaullah Butt and Rana Sanaullah.

In Islamabad, protesters attacked a group of policemen early on Sunday morning and set motorbikes and other vehicles on fire in Sector I-8, near Faizabad.

The participants of the sit-in also held funeral prayers for their fellow protesters at the site of the sit-in, vowing to extract justice from the rulers.

Although funeral prayers for those killed in Saturday’s action were held in various places, the last rites of one of the victims — who could not be identified — was held at Faizabad, and was attended by Sarwat Qadri of the Sunni Tehreek, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, and other leaders of the parties holding the sit-in.

Qadri demanded that the Supreme Court ascertain who opened fire on “unarmed protesters”, and said that if the rulers did not mend their ways, all Eid Miladun Nabi processions from around the country would converge on Islamabad.

The capital’s police also registered three more cases against the leaders and activists of the religious group, but senior officials said there were no plans to take any further action against the protesters yet.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2017