ISLAMABAD, Dec 17: A clash between police and protesters here on Monday left scores of rights activists, journalists and policemen injured. Police and eyewitnesses said around 400 to 500 protesters carrying placards and banners and shouting anti-government slogans, gathered at Aabpara Chowk in the afternoon and started marching towards the Judges Colony. They were demanding release of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. Policemen wielding batons tried to stop them and fired teargas to prevent them from heading towards the official residence of the deposed chief justice. Protest organisers said police had arrested about 60 people, including political activist Jamil Abbasi, advocate Tariq Mehmood and a number of students. They were detained in a lock-up of the Secretariat Police Station and were to be booked on various charges, including violation of a ban on protest demonstrations.
A spokesman for the Islamabad Capital Territory police claimed that Superintendent Police East Nasir Aftab and 10 other policemen had been injured in the clash and that 20 people involved in the protest had been arrested.
A group of women activists rounded up by police was taken to the women police station and ordered to hand over their valuables and other belongings to police, one of the activists claimed. “We have been deprived of our belongings and possibly would be put in the lock-up,” she said.
Outside the Secretariat Police Station, a group of media persons covering the event were beaten up by police. Many of them suffered injuries and bruises. The injured journalists were taken to the Federal Government Services Hospital where they were said to be in stable condition. At least 10 police personnel were also treated at the hospital.
“Policemen ruthlessly kicked and punched a cameraman and a reporter of AAJ TV when they were filming the women protesters being beaten up by police outside the Secretariat Police Station,” one of the victims said.
Daily Times – JP protesters beaten, 30 held
ISLAMABAD: Thirty people were injured on Monday in clashes between the police and participants of a rally demanding the restoration of the deposed superior court judges and an end to curbs on media. The participants of the rally tried to enter the Judges Enclave to express solidarity with the sacked judges, but upon being stopped by police, pelted them with bricks and stones. In retaliation, the police resorted to teargas shelling and baton-charge, injuring dozens of protesters. Police also arrested 30 people and shifted them to Secretariat police station. Later, people protesting outside the police station against the brutal government action were baton-charged by the police.
Dawn – Iftikhar condemns police action
ISLAMABAD, Dec 17: Deposed Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on Monday advised lawyers, civil society and 160 million people of the country to continue their struggle for the supremacy of the 1973 Constitution and the rule of law. Expressing serious concern over police action against protesters in Islamabad, he said in a message that these atrocities would never demoralise the people. He said: “It is a barbaric act committed by police and other agencies by torturing peaceful demonstrators. Peaceful protest is the right of every citizen of Pakistan as freedom of expression is enshrined under the 1973 Constitution.”
“Look at the state of condition within a week, a blast in Quetta, Nowshera and Kohat, but the police and agencies are deputed to arrest women, torture students, lawyers and media men protesting for the rule of law,” the deposed chief justice said. It was a highly deplorable and barbaric act of the government which exposed its weakness and nervousness. Was martial law or the so-called emergency lifted? It appeared to be mere rhetoric, the message said.