KARACHI: Police in Karachi have registered 17 more cases against what they called “unknown persons” for staging rallies, sit-ins and rioting during the protest campaign mainly organised by the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case.
Officials said that the first case was registered at the Korangi police station on Saturday and 17 similar FIR were lodged on Sunday.
A total of 12 cases have been registered in the police stations that fall within the East zone of the police’s organisational structure and six cases in South and West zones.
All the cases were registered on behalf of the state under Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting with a deadly weapon), 149(every member of an unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant), 324 (attempted murder), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Police file 17 more FIRs against ‘unknown persons’ for rioting
So far, only two protesters have been arrested in the first case registered on Saturday. No arrest has been made in any of the 17 cases registered.
“We have registered 11 FIRs [today] against unknown persons in the East zone only,” said DIG-East Amir Farooqi.
He said so far no one had approached the police for lodging FIRs about destruction of their property during the protest sit-ins.
The Sharea Faisal police registered a case against 200-250 unknown persons for staging a sit-in at Star Gate on the main artery that connects city with the airport. The complainant, the area SHO, stated that the protesters at 7.45am on Oct 31 had blocked both tracks and did not allow even pedestrians to pass through it.
He stated that he tried to persuade them to vacate the road but they refused.
1,300 police personnel for crowd management
Police authorities have decided to deploy 1,300 policemen in the metropolis for ‘crowd management’ and equip them with anti-riots gears, said city police chief Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh on Sunday.
He said that 300 policemen — 100 policeman for each zone — who would be trained by the armed forces, would be given to the three zones from Monday.
He said that the inspector general of police, Sindh was also requested for additional 1,000 policemen from the Sindh Reserve Police for deputing them in the city for crowd management.
The police have identified perceived trouble spots in the city where existing CCTV cameras would be repaired if the same were malfunctioned and new cameras would be installed.
Besides, the police with the help of the Rangers and other law enforcement agencies have updated a list of workers and leaders of the outfits and groups which had been active during recent sit-ins and protests.
The city police chief said that the police did not use force to disperse the protesters as it was apprehended that such action might trigger a widespread reaction in other parts of the country.
Besides, the police knew that the authorities concerned had already engaged the protesters in talks and the city police did not want to sabotage the negotiation process with TLP leaders in the country by using force.
Moreover, he said that a high-level committee comprising representatives of the police, other law enforcement agencies and Karachi commissioner was formed and they remained in touch with the leaders of the protesters and informed them about red lines.
Officials said that besides TLP, other religious groups and parties had also staged protests and sit-ins in the metropolis and they apprehended a law and order situation.
They said the outlawed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat became active and held a big protest sit-in on Friday at Daud Chowrangi.
Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2018