ISLAMABAD: Around 700 people were wounded and three killed as riot police battled crowds of charged protesters led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri all through Saturday night and Sunday morning.
PIMS Hospital spokesman said most of the dead had been hit with rubber bullets in stomach and upper parts of their bodies. The gory scenes of violence, police shelling and baton charge, and retaliation by baton-wielding marchers kept the public at large glued to their television screens. It also disrupted civic life in country’s capital on a holiday on Sunday. This has been the scene since August 15 when the marchers had entered the capital. Police and protesters clashed violently outside the Parliament House in the Red Zone Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Clashes erupted as the PTI and PAT workers marched towards the PM House in Islamabad Saturday night. The marchers, who were demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, were held back by police with tear gas, batons and rubber bullets almost 300-400 meters away from the prime minister’s official residence, and a few meters away from parliament building, and Presidency. But a late-night advice from military’s ISPR cooled down the situation as police retreated suddenly and ended incursions into areas of the Constitution Avenue where marchers were staying put along with their leaders.
The unrest expanded in various areas of the twin cities, but in a feeble way. Small groups of protestors again started protests in G6, Blue area, Faizabad, Rawalpindi Saddar as police blocked them from entering the Red Zone. The Interior Minister Sunday evening directed the law enforcement agencies to evacuate parliament building from protesters and take complete control of the Red Zone. Police again used tear gas and rubber bullets to keep the protesters away from the PM House and parliament.
As many as three protesters lost their life in the clashes. Gulfam, a resident of Sialkot; Rafiullah, resident of Bhakkar; and Naveed Razak from Chak Bheli near Chakwal expired at PIMS because of severe injuries. While more than 700 got wounded in clashes between police and protesters in Islamabad, a large number of protesters of PTI and PAT breached the boundary wall of the Parliament House with a crane and one truck and entered into premises after their leaders Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri directed them to advance towards Parliament House and the Prime Minister’s House.
Hundreds of PAT and PTI protesters, including women and children, remained confined to the lawns of adjoining areas on the Constitution Avenue and did not try to enter it after warnings from the military personnel guarding it. Police exercised restraint as the protesters were armed with sticks, wire cutters and hammers. Protests restarted on Sunday morning. Police barricaded all the entry and exit points of the Red Zone and constantly arrested PAT and PTI workers after back-to-back brawls. More than 110 police cops were injured during the scuffle with protesters.
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