Senate body summons police, admin officials to explain use of force against PTI protesters in capital

Published May 30, 2022
A vacant space is being blocked with a container at D-Chowk in Islamabad on Sunday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
A vacant space is being blocked with a container at D-Chowk in Islamabad on Sunday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

ISLAMABAD: Relevant officials from police and the capital administration have been called to a committee room of the Parliament House on May 31 to discuss with them the use of force by law enforcement agencies against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) marchers last week.

They have been called by members of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, chaired by Senator Mohsin Aziz. Those who have been called include home secretary Punjab, inspector general of police (IGP) Islamabad, deputy inspector general operations (Lahore) and DIG operations, Islamabad. Members of the committee had taken notice of the use of force against PTI marchers and blockade of roads in Islamabad and Punjab.

On May 26, former prime minister Imran Khan had warned that he would march towards the capital again if the government did not dissolve the assembly and announced the date for general election.

Keeping this in view, police on Sunday began placing containers at D-Chowk and Srinagar Highway.

Containers being placed at D-Chowk, Srinagar Highway in anticipation of another march

According to a police official, containers were already in place at the spots and D-Chowk was sealed.

“It is part of the standard operating procedure (SOP) to make arrangements for the closures of roads as a call had already been given by Mr Khan for another march towards Islamabad,” he said.

The committee will meet at 11am in committee room number 1 of the Parliament House on Tuesday.

The PTI had announced a long march on May 25 and rally participants were asked to reach Islamabad at 3pm as this was the time Imran Khan was supposed to reach the city.

However, the situation changed as roads were blocked in Punjab and the capital.

Later that day, the Supreme Court intervened and directed the government to remove hurdles and release the arrested PTI workers and leaders. After that, Mr Khan directed his workers to reach D-Chowk but he did not show up until the next morning when he ultimately called off the march.

Party workers who managed to reach D-Chowk had to face teargas and severe baton charge by law enforcement officials.

A number of trees were also reportedly burnt by some party workers, who claimed to have done so to protect themselves from the teargas.

According to the agenda of the meeting, officers have been called to respond to why use of force was used against unarmed peaceful protesters besides the “unlawful” crackdown against the PTI leadership by way of raids and why people were arrested unlawfully after “false” cases were registered against them.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2022

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