Pakistani Government Calls in Army to Help Disperse Islamist Protesters

Pakistani Government Calls in Army to Help Disperse Islamist Protesters

A Pakistani police officer aims his gun towards the protesters next to a burning police vehicle during a clash in Islamabad on November 25, 2017.

The federal government has issued a notification and directed Pakistan Army to send troops to take control over the capital s security and ensure peace.

A senior government official speaking on condition of anonymity, due to restrictions on speaking to the media, told Anadolu Agency that the security forces had been asked not to take on the violent protesters pending further orders.

DawnNews reported that protesters tried to break into the residence of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in Faizabad.

The operation to clear Faizabad Interchange from protesters staging a sit-in, which had commenced early morning on Saturday, was put on hold later in the day. The minister, however, is in Islamabad.

Dawn and Geo News reported that there are prison vans, ambulances at the site.

Since Nov. 8, protesters have blocked a major road between Islamabad and Rawalpindi to highlight their demand for the resignation of Law and Justice Minister Zahid Hamid because of legislation that would scale back requirements for lawmakers to mention the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

Police have also used water cannons to disperse the protesters after the capital was paralysed due to the sit-in which has been ongoing for nearly three weeks.

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The demonstrators support the hardline Islamist cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

It is worth mentioning that the government's strict decision of operation against the Faizabad protestors has backfired and protests have erupted throughout the nation. The protesters have surrounded leadership and stopping police and Rangers.

In Lahore, protesters gathered in more than 30 locations, said Kiran Nazish, a local journalist.

The Pakistani government has blocked social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube amid the ongoing operation against protesters. Traffic jam has choked arteries near Data Darbar.

All the news channels have also been suspended.

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa in a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has "suggested to handle the Islambad dharna peacefully", a statement issued by the military's media wing said.

Protests also broke out in Lahore and Karachi, as well as smaller towns.

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