Home Latest News Islamabad Police Push Back Protesters

Islamabad Police Push Back Protesters

by AFP
File Photo. Munir uz Zaman—AFP

File Photo. Munir uz Zaman—AFP

Tear gas, batons used to discourage around 250 human rights demonstrators from entering sensitive red zone area.

Police on Monday fired teargas and used batons to push back hundreds of protesters marching on Parliament in Islamabad over alleged enforced disappearances by security forces.

Scuffles broke out between police and around 250 demonstrators at the protest march organized by Defense of Human Rights (DHR), a campaign group formed by the relatives of the missing persons. “The protestors tried to march toward Parliament and enter the very sensitive red zone area which is against the law,” said Muhammad Naeem, a local police official.

Security officials fired tear gas and beat placard-wielding protesters with batons, as some of them were bundled into a police vehicle, footage from TV channels showed. Several activists, including Amina Masood Janjua, who heads DHR, were arrested. However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif later ordered the release of all protesters, his office said in a statement.

DHR says as many as 2,000 people have disappeared from across the country, many from Balochistan province. Rights groups accuse the government of gross violations including holding people in secret and failing to charge them or put them on trial.

The Supreme Court and high courts have also been investigating cases of missing people and issuing warnings to the government to recover these people.

At Monday’s protest, some protesters accused police of using excessive force. “Policemen and lady police started punching and kicking me,” said 79-year-old Sobia Begum at the site of protest. Begum, from Peshawar, sought to protest outside Parliament to demand the release of her son who she claims was taken into custody by the intelligence agencies in June 2001.

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