Lahore (November 25, 2017): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif are holding a meeting at Raiwind in Lahore.
They are discussing overall political situation and matters of national importance.
Earlier a policeman was martyred during clashes with protesters after an operation to clear Faizabad interchange commenced early Saturday morning.
Police said the deceased suffered a deadly blow to the head in I-8/4 sector as protesters pelted stones at security officials during the operation.
Heavy contingents of police, FC and Rangers were deployed to the interchange, where they are using tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters after the capital was paralysed due to the sit-in which has been ongoing for almost three weeks. According to reports, dozens of protesters have been detained.
The operation was commenced on court orders following the expiry of the midnight deadline set by the district administration.Prison vans, ambulances are at the site, while helicopters and drones are being used by the authorities for aerial surveillance. Around 8,000 security officials are taking part in the operation, including 3,000 FC personnel.
100 people injured have been brought to hospitals in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. 30 policemen and 14 FC personnel are among those injured.
According to district administration sources, the Faizabad interchange is now in control of authorities as the operation continues in the area. Security officials are conducting operation against the protesters from five directions: Khanna Pul, GT Road, Islamabad Club Road, Express Highway and Murree Road.
Protesters have blocked Bhara Kahu leading to Murree. They have also set fire to two vehicles at Faizabad Chowk.
Schools situated at Murree Road have been evacuated because of the tear gas shelling in the area.Minutes prior to starting the operation, law enforcement agencies (LEAs) removed the barbed wire fences surrounding the sit-in area, where protesters belonging to a religious party had been demonstrating for 20 days.
Security officials and LEAs had evacuated Faizabad ahead of the operation, Junejo added.
Abb Takk News’ correspondents at the scene explained that the markets and bus stops in Faizabad and its surrounding areas are completely empty, while police have banned entry for all unrelated persons.
They added that a drone has also been spotted in the vicinity.“We will clear the [Faizabad] area today in line with the court’s orders,” Junejo said, adding that they “will try our best to make sure there is no fatality”.
Protests erupt in Karachi
Protesters blocked Numaish Chowrangi and MA Jinnah Road in Karachi early Saturday morning as they demonstrated against the operation underway in Islamabad.
Contingents of police reached the Numaish area to disperse the gathering crowd of protesters. Water cannons have been put in place at the chowrangi for use if the need arises.Final warning
Late Friday night, the district administration of the federal capital had issued a final warning to protesters of a religious party, camped at Faizabad Interchange, and had told them to disperse by midnight, threatening to take action of the order was not followed.
The warning was issued in a notification issued by the district magistrate.The order by the district administration came after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday ordered to shift the protesters to the Parade Ground within a span of three days.
The district administration had stated that the protesters have been camping at the critical junction illegally and the protesters have been issued a three-day warning previously too, hence, the protesters should vacate Faizabad Interchange by midnight Friday.
If an operation is conducted to clear the interchange, then the responsibility will fall on the leadership and the participants of the protest, the administration added.
The Supreme Court on Thursday said that when the writ of the state ends, decisions are made on the streets.The bench — comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mushir Alam — also expressed its displeasure at the unrelenting situation and noted that the residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi were facing serious problems as a result of the sit-in.
The apex court bench added that the sit-in is all about the ego of one man and his quest for fame.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal also stated that the state is on one page regarding sit-in and the government is still trying to resolve the issue through peaceful means.