World Bulletin / News Desk
In a dramatic move, Pakistan’s government late Saturday called in the army to secure the capital following an eight-hour crackdown against violent protesters.
According to an Interior Ministry statement, "sufficient troops" from the army’s 111th brigade will be deployed to aid the civil administration to enforce law and order in the capital Islamabad until further notice.
Separately, security officials in Punjab requested that ranger troops be sent to its capital Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city by population, to help restore order.
The developments come hours after, amid tough resistance and nationwide protests, security forces suspended the crackdown on the Islamabad protesters, who had been blocking the main entrance from the city of Rawalpindi to the capital since early November.
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.
The suspension, the official said, was adopted after the country’s powerful army chief's suggestion to the prime minister that the sit-in be handled peacefully.
In a tweet, Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, head of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army's media wing, said that Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa telephoned Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and suggested that the sit-in be resolved peacefully.
Earlier, at least 160 injured were brought to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), hospital spokesman Dr. Altaf Hussain told Anadolu Agency, as police tried to disperse the protesters using teargas shells.
The crackdown came after the country’s top court ordered their removal, after protests paralyzed life in the twin cities and the last of a long series of deadlines lapsed without response from the agitating parties.Last Mod: 26 Kasım 2017, 10:50