A Return to Violence – Isl Dec 17 Protest

Daily Times

Dawn

Dawn – Crackdown on protesters in Islamabad

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.

isl dec 17

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.

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5 thoughts on “A Return to Violence – Isl Dec 17 Protest

  1. Received from the Emergency Mailing List – a first hand information of what transpired at the protest

    I apologize for not being able to write more details or in better language. Have 2 fractured fingers and back got real bad thrashing. I am still amongst the luckier ones. We still don’t have details on the number but many got beaten up with cracked skulls, bleeding noses, and in broken bones. Many are still in jail and the whereabouts of a few are still unknown.

    Our peaceful rally was once again stormed by the police. After being beaten up thrice by these policemen students had brought sticks for their own self defense. We were first charged at when we were trying to go to the CJ’s house to show solidarity. Due to the traffic on the street and our numbers (about 1000 protesters with 200 odd with flags) we retaliated and got the police running back.

    The second time they charged at us on the orders of ASP Nasir Aftab the students were able to push the police back. Nasir Aftab himself was seen beating up women on which a few students beat him up. He was eventually sent to a hospital after a special ambulance came to take the injured policemen. Please note that when one of the female students tried to go the ambulance to get her brother taken to the hospital she was charged on by 6 policemen. We have no news of her whereabouts as of this point.

    Once the police failed to stop the students from going to the CJ’s house an armored vehicle fired 30 odd tear gas shells. One shell hit a lawyer and exploded on his leg. He fainted there and was rushed to the hospital in a cab. The police also fired rubber bullets and pelted stones as well. Because of the tear gas people dispersed and riot police in their gas masks charged at us. The students were already in terrible condition due to the tear gas and the police showed no concern for the injured lying on the ground. They became easy targets and were beaten up indiscriminately.

    Even with all this, a group of 50 students still made it to the CJ’s house. They were eventually surrounded by 600 odd policemen who treated them terribly even after they were already handing themselves over to the authorities. There were numerous arrests made and many different news papers are reporting different numbers. At the time of writing this report the female prisoners have been released and the males were charged under so many different offenses that it was difficult to keep track.

    The two bullies responsible for today’s action are:
    Nasir Aftab: 0300-8505563
    Kamran Cheema: 9261163

    The students urge you all to call these bullies and tell them about your sentiments. One student said she had no one to go to for justice. Had the CJ been there he would have taken a suo moto notice against these policemen but without him there was no one to go to for help. She said this while being unable to move after the beating she got from the police and waiting for help from somewhere.

    Please forward this to everyone and let the world know that students of Pakistan will not be affected by these minor skirmishes. They may have broken bones and aching bodies but their spirit is alive and will fight till our heroes are restored.

    You can google news search Islamabad Protest Tear gas to find out more.

    In total solidarity (and pain)

    Samad

    P.S one of the policemen stole my phone when a bunch of them were manhandling me at the police station. please take down my other number (at the end of the email) s


    **^**^**^**^**^**^**^**^**^**^**^**^**^
    Samad Khurram
    Harvard College ’09
    394 Winthrop House Mail Center
    Cambridge, MA 02138
    E-Mail: skhurram@fas.harvard.edu
    Cell(US): +1-(617)960-7289
    Cell(PK): +92-300-5599085
    _______________________________________________
    Emergency mailing list
    Emergency@lists.hcs.harvard.edu
    http://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/emergency

  2. Received from the Emergency Mailing List
    Emergency Mailing List Press release:
    Protest at Aabpara Chowk in Islamabad on 17th Dec, 2007

    The protest organized by the Student Action Committee was attended by a large number of students, activists, lawyers and concerned citizens. It started off in Aabpara and moved on to the press club in front of Holiday Inn, where Imran Khan also joined in. It must be noted that Mr. Khan had agreed to attend the rally as a concerned citizen of Pakistan and not as a representative of any political party.

    The police had been with the protestors all long but it was when they started for F-6 that they started stopping people and used force if they did not comply but due to the sheer strength of the protestors, who far eclipsed the policemen in numbers they got the policemen to retreat back despite their attempt to baton charge and moved on towards the house of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. This was when the police charged on the protestors for the second time and it was on the orders of the ASP Nasir Aftab, who was seen beating up women himself.

    Once the police saw that the protestors were determined to reach the CJ’s residence, an armored vehicle drew up and fired an odd thirty tear gas shells at the protestors. One hit a lawyer on the leg and he fainted on the spot. The police also fired rubber bullets and threw stones at the protestors as well. The tear gas had caused much havoc in the crowds and seeing the crowd disperse the police charged in and started beating up protestors with batons. Some protestors had fallen to the ground sustaining injuries and the police beat them up indiscriminately.

    Despite all this, around fifty protestors managed to reach the CJ’s residence. By then many people, old people in particular had suffered injuries. The police surrounded them and arrested several students seven of those arrested being women. The men were taken to the Secretariat Police Station, and the women to the G-7 Police Station. Those arrested were charged under section 144. The constitution remains intact and unhindered for the government’s use to target its own citizens.

    This harsh behavior on part of government officials have proved that the emergency may have been lifted but the constitution which was the protection of the citizens still lies discarded. One student said she had no one to go to for justice. Had the CJ been there he would have taken a suo moto notice against these policemen but without him there was no one to go to for help. She said this while being unable to move after the beating she got from the police and waiting for help from somewhere.

    The students of Pakistan would like to state that their commitment and determination for the restoration of an independent judiciary and other fundamental rights which have been snatched from the people of Pakistan is unwavering and they will continue on despite any hurdle thrown in their way by the government.

  3. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded
    this onto a co-worker who was doing a little research on this.
    And he actually ordered me lunch due to the fact that I found
    it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the
    meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your blog.

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