At least 86 policemen injured in clash with PAT activists

ISLAMABAD: At least 86 policemen, including constables and inspectors, suffered injuries in a clash with the activists of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) on Monday, a police official said.While talking to the media personnel, an official of the Sector I9 Police Station said that more than 50 policemen of the capital and Azad Kashmir police, including Station House Officer (SHO) Qasim Niazi and constable Safdar Mehmood were severely injured when the supporters of the PAT beat them up with sticks and threw stones. Polyclinic Executive Director Zahid Hussain informed the media personnel that 34 injured policemen, including inspectors and sub-inspectors were brought to the hospital. Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) spokesperson Ayesha said that 11 injured policemen were shifted to the hospital. "Among them was SHO Safdar Hussain, who was critically injured and is being operated upon by the doctors," she said. Raising the morale of the police force, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Muhammad Ali Naikokar said, "I always command my policemen to carry out their duties wholeheartedly and accept all challenges."On the other hand, as many as 46 persons, including 36 policemen of the Punjab Police, were also injured due to stone pelting by the activists of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). They were shifted to allied hospitals of Rawalpindi by Rescue-1122. While talking to the media personnel, Rescue-1122 District Emergency Officer Abdul Rehman said that the rescuers had shifted 28 policemen to the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ), seven to Benazir Bhutto Hospital, and one to the Holy Family Hospital (HFH). The PAT workers, he said, smashed two ambulances of Rescue-1122, which were engaged in carrying out rescue and relief operation outside the Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) and in the Rahimabad area.The sources in the district government said that the city police exhibited maximum restraint in using force in maintaining law and order, but inspite of it, some clashes took place between the police and PAT workers at different places, mainly due to politically motivated aggression. Keeping in view the prevailing law and order situation in the country, especially after launching the operation 'Zarb-e-Azb' against the terrorists and receiving threats to political leadership and sensitive installations, the government had imposed ban on various activities under section-144 to avoid any untoward incident. Accordingly, the police devised a multi-tiered security plan deploying around 6,000 policemen around the airport and at all exit and entry points of the city to protect the lives and property of the public.A helicopter kept flying over the city to monitor the movement of the PAT supporters. Taking advantage of the police's visible policy of avoiding clash, the PAT activists moved on and managed to get closer to the airport. The situation coupled with security alerts issued by the Provincial Home Department, apparently led to the decision that in the prevailing situation, landing of the plane carrying PAT chief was not safe. So the airline was diverted to the Lahore airport for the safety of the passengers including PAT chief Tahirul Qadri. 

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