PESHAWAR: The main roads leading to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly building turned into a battlefield after the JUI-F workers, who were protesting against the merger of Fata with KP, clashed with police here on Sunday.

Several policemen, media persons and protesters sustained injuries during clashes with the police as the JUI-F workers besieged the assembly building. The protesters converged on the assembly building vowing to disrupt its proceedings if the merger bill was passed.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly was summoned on Sunday with a single item agenda to pass the Constitution (Twenty-Fifth Amendment) Bill, 2018 for the merger of Fata and KP.

Although the assembly passed the bill smoothly, yet three main roads of the provincial capital remained closed to all kinds of traffic till conclusion of the assembly session in the evening. The Sher Shah Suri Road, Khyber Road and Grand Trunk Road remained blocked owing to the protest.

Protesters besiege provincial assembly building against Fata-KP merger

The fasting Peshawarites suffered miseries in the scorching heat owing to closure of the roads. With the closure of main roads, police diverted traffic to other roads that resulted in a logjam in the city.

The protesters assembled in front of both gates of the assembly from 10am. They were not allowing entry of any person to the assembly building including MPAs, politicians and visitors.

The protestors were led by JUI-F provincial secretary information Abdul Jalil Jan, its chief of Fata chapter Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Maulana Jamaludin and others. Police fired tear gas shells at the protesters and baton charged them at 12:45 to disperse them because they were not allowing the entry of MPAs, who were coming to participate in the session scheduled to meet at 2pm.

The protesters, who were in hundreds, also retaliated by pelting stones at the police. They burnt tyres at several places of the GT Road to disrupt the traffic. They were holding banners and chanting slogans against the government and merger of Fata with the province.

Policemen were deployed inside and outside the assembly building in a large number. After clash with the protesters, police were also deployed on the adjacent roads to make way for the MPAs, journalists and visitors to enter the assembly building.

Several journalists received injuries and the DSNGs of the electronic media were also damaged as the protestors pelted stone at them. The media persons covering the assembly session staged walkout to protest attack on journalists. They condemned JUI-F for attacking media persons and their DCNGs.

Later, the media persons ended the boycott on the request of Provincial Minister for Information Shah Farman.

An official of East Cantonment police station told Dawn that the policemen received minor injuries in the clashes and they were provided first aid. He said that they arrested 28 JUI-F workers but FIRs were not registered against them till filing this report.

Police and protesters removed all hurdles from the roads when the session was adjourned at 6pm.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2018

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