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Pakistan launches crackdown on religious protesters, setting off violent clashes

Discussion in 'South Asia & SAARC' started by lca-fan, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. lca-fan

    lca-fan Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Pakistan launches crackdown on religious protesters, setting off violent clashes

    Pamela Constable November 25 at 8:55 AM

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Protests erupted across Pakistan on Saturday after security forces launched an early-morning crackdown on thousands of religious demonstrators camped on a highway in the capital. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the angry crowd, which fought back with clubs and pelted police with stones from slingshots.”

    Army officials urged the government to respond to the protests “peacefully,” saying that violent confrontation was “not in the national interest,” but police and civilian officials seemed overwhelmed by the day-long outpouring of unrest. Demonstrators blocked highways, shut down sections of metropolitan Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore, and filled dozens of public squares and crossroads across Pakistan’s four provinces.

    Officials blocked all television news channels at midafternoon, but information from scattered communities traveled by phone and text messages. Hundreds of injuries were reported among both protesters and security forces, and two fatalities were reported at the scene. Protesters attacked and injured a legislator from the ruling party and vandalized the home of the federal law minister, whose resignation they have demanded.

    Clashes continued all day at Faizabad, an interchange on the main highway between Islamabad and the nearby garrison city of Rawalpindi, where religious groups had first gathered since Nov. 8 to protest what they believed was a deliberate attempt to change Pakistani electoral laws with language that insulted the prophet Muhammad.

    The original protests were spearheaded by a movement dedicated to defending the honor of Muhammad, a 7th-century figure whom Muslims believe to be final prophet in Islam, and the country’s strict laws against religious blasphemy. The group also reveres a man who assassinated a provincial governor in 2011, acting out of religious anger because the official had defended a Christian peasant woman accused of blaspheming against Islam.

    [​IMG]A police officer fires rubber bullets to disperse protesters during a clash in Islamabad. Pakistani police have launched an operation to clear an intersection linking capital Islamabad with the garrison city of Rawalpindi where an Islamist group's supporters have camped out for the last 20 days. (Anjum Naveed/AP)
    The leader of that movement, Maulvi Khadim Allama Hussain Rizvi, remained at the Faizabad site all day, wearing a gas mask and using a wheelchair because of a permanent disability. According to news reports, he chanted slogans praising the “finality of the prophet” and welcoming new protesters who arrived from mosques, shrines and homes to join the besieged rally.

    Rizvi reportedly read out lists of towns and cities where crowds had blocked roads, adding “all praises to Allah.” Emotionally charged protesters chanted, “Long live the finality of the prophet.”

    The assault at Faizabad had been expected but repeatedly delayed for days, as religious leaders refused government orders to disperse and ignored repeated deadlines. The demonstrations began three weeks ago and have grown steadily, with emotionally charged crowds calling for the removal of a cabinet minister.

    The protesters are upset about a previous proposed change in election laws — just a few words of text — that weakened the specific oath that all candidates for public office must repeat, swearing they believe that Muhammad was the prophet. The government apologized for the “clerical error” several weeks ago, but Rizvi and his supporters have continued to push relentlessly for further action, especially the firing of law minister Zahid Hamid.

    Despite the presence of thousands of security forces, protesters at Faizabad continued to resist or escape them throughout the day, and by nightfall crowds were roaming the streets. Meanwhile, the reports of sympathetic rallies elsewhere spread, creating a growing sense of confrontation and loss of government control.

    As the unrest spread, the demands of the protesters broadened; instead of calling for Hamid’s dismissal, there were growing chants and speeches demanding the resignation of the entire government, which is led by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Party-Nawaz. Some security officials reportedly called for martial law to be imposed, although the army said it would act only on civilian orders.

    From Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and a major seaport, a Washington Post correspondent reported that many malls and commercial areas had been shut down amid throngs of milling protesters, and that dozens of people had been injured. As crowds gathered near the city’s international airport, some flights were canceled.


    “The fight with the police is in the streets, and they are on the run. We are winning, and we will be on the roads as long as the government stays,” said Sayed Sabtain, 26, a protester in the Faizabad crowd Saturday morning. “Earlier, this was about the law minister resigning, but now all the government has to go. If they think they can defeat us with bullets, we are here to die for the respect of the prophet.”

    The group that started the protests, which have blocked traffic for days on the major expressway between the federal capital and nearby Rawalpindi, was once considered a fringe religious movement built around the cult of Mumtaz Qadri, a 26-year-old bodyguard who assassinated Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer. Qadri was hanged for murder last year, and supporters built an ornate shrine to him on the outskirts of the capital.

    The group, called the Movement in Service to the Finality of the Prophet, has recently become involved in politics, fielding candidates in two parliamentary elections. It claims to be peaceful and nonideological, and it has been steadily gaining support among the Muslim populace. Pakistan, a poor country of 207 million, is 95 percent Muslim.

    The movement also crusades against Ahmedis, a religious minority that claims to be Muslim but follows a 19th-century prophet, and it has accused the government of favoring Ahmedis by trying to change the election law.

    In recent days, as hundreds of thousands of people have been prevented from getting to work, school and home by the traffic snarls, the Abbasi government has attempted to negotiate with the protest leaders, fearing a major confrontation, but they refused to back down from demanding that Hamid be fired for allegedly engineering the proposed change in the electoral law.

    Officials have so far refused to fire Hamid but launched an investigation into the origins of the proposed legal change. Earlier this week, after the Islamabad High Court called the protest illegal and an “act of terror” against the public, the government still gave the protesters more time to disperse.

    On Thursday, the Islamabad court threatened to hold the federal interior minister with contempt for failing to evict them. The government then gave a final dispersal deadline of midnight Friday, and at dawn the police assault commenced.

    Shaiq Hussain in Rawalpindi, Nisar Medhi in Karachi and Haq Naqaz Khan in Peshawar contributed to this report.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/worl...d1e45a6de3d_story.html?utm_term=.e58c36fac4c2
     
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  2. lca-fan

    lca-fan Major SENIOR MEMBER

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  3. lca-fan

    lca-fan Major SENIOR MEMBER

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  4. lca-fan

    lca-fan Major SENIOR MEMBER

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  5. lca-fan

    lca-fan Major SENIOR MEMBER

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  6. lca-fan

    lca-fan Major SENIOR MEMBER

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  7. lca-fan

    lca-fan Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Protests spread to different cities after Islamabad operation
    November 25, 2017
    |
    By GEO NEWS
    |
    Pakistan



    [​IMG]
    Protesters stage sit-in in Karachi
    KARACHI: After the crackdown against protestors in Islamabad began early Saturday morning, protesters have also started gathering at key points across the country including Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpur Azad Kashmir, Tando Allahyar, Jacobabad, Chakwal, Sabrial, Lahore, Faisalabad and Gujranwala.

    In Lahore, protests took an ugly turn when demonstrators blocked major roads such as Mall Road and set a vehicle on fire at Shahdara Chowk. They also blocked railway tracks in the area.

    Lahore police had to resort to tear gas shelling to disperse the protesters. Further contingents of Rangers have been summoned to the site of protests. Metro bus services have been suspended. Several protesters have been detained.

    In Karachi, protesters that had been staging a sit-in at the Numaish Chowrangi since morning shut down the access roads and forcefully closed all the shops in the area. Meanwhile, protests have also sprung up in various other parts of the city.

    Reports have confirmed protests are taking place near Jillani Centre near Tower, on Hasan Square, at Star Gate as well as in Sohrab Goth.

    Traffic Police sources have told Geo.tv that protestors have blocked the Shaheed-e-Millat Expressway. The sources added that protestors atAl Asif Square have severed the main road link between Karachi and Hyderabad.

    Security officials were forced to resort to tear gas shelling to disperse protesters at Star Gate.

    Earlier today, a policeman was martyred and over 190 injured as clashes with protesters turned violent after an operation to clear Faizabad interchange commenced early Saturday morning.

    [​IMG]
    Islamabad operation: Policeman martyred in clashes with protesters
    Helicopters, drones, ambulances, and prison vans on the scene; dozens of protesters detained



    Heavy contingents of police, FC and Rangers were deployed to the interchange, where they used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters after the capital was virtually paralysed due to the three-week long sit-in.

    Dozens of protesters were detained as they continued to resist and throw stones at security officials. Over 8,000 security officials are taking part in the operation, which according to reports was suspended at 1:30 pm.

    Protesters blocked Bhara Kahu leading to Murree, Rawalpindi Expressway and the Motorway. They also set fire to ten vehicles in the area.
     
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  8. lca-fan

    lca-fan Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    And here comes usual rants blaming INDIA.............

    Islamabad protesters 'contacted India', claims Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal

    Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday claimed that religious parties protesting in Islamabad had 'contacted India', and that the government was investigating the matter.

    Speaking to DawnNews, Iqbal said: "They are not simple people. We can see that they have various resources at their disposal. They have fired tear gas shells [at security forces], they also cut the fibre optic cables of cameras that were monitoring their protest."

    The interior minister said the protesters had also "contacted India".

    "Why they did it, we are looking into it. They have inside information and resources that are being used against the state."
     
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  9. stephen cohen

    stephen cohen Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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  10. Pundrick

    Pundrick Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Muslims changing laws, Muslims suffering, Muslims protesting. And all of these human beings are not even authentic ones. None of them accepted this wahabism school of thought, then how did this ideology found its place in this place ?

    I would say : Cooked up history books and allowing religiously corrupt molvis to harvest fake ego and radical thoughts in people's mind for few money from arab lands.

    Sadly we too have some of these elements, but luckily we have history to build a base upon and avoid these moron molvis from harvest their thought on mass scale.
     
  11. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog IDF NewBie

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  12. stephen cohen

    stephen cohen Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Decades of Brainwashing have Totally changed Pakistani DNA

    In the 50 s and 60s Pakistanis were Modern and Liberal people

    What Zia did cannot be reversed or changed ; Pakistan will always remain
    a Rabid and dangerous country
     
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  13. Darth Marr

    Darth Marr Captain FULL MEMBER

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    1 million protestors on the streets. Karachi police ran out of teargas, some policemen dead from firing from protesters.
     
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  14. An Indian

    An Indian 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Ahhhh!!! The time to reap the whirlwind is nigh!!!
     
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  15. Lion of Rajputana

    Lion of Rajputana Captain FULL MEMBER

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    If they're gonna blame India anyways, maybe we should pump in a bit of money and limited supplies. I want all of urban Pakistan to go up in flames just like the rural areas already are rife with militant extremism.
     

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