Violent protests, destruction: 500 booked, 12 arrested in capital

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Violent protests, destruction

500 booked, 12 arrested in capital

Ejaz Cheema

Islamabad

After the federal government announced to go after the saboteurs, who had played havoc with public and private property in the three-day protest against the acquittal of Asia Bibi in the alleged blasphemy case, Islamabad police cast its net wide and arrested 12 miscreants.

The police also registered cases against 500 saboteurs in the federal capital.

The miscreants had caused destruction to public and private property and set several vehicles and motorcycles alight in protest against the acquittal of Asia Bibi by the Supreme Court last week.

Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat said that 12 people were apprehended on charges of destruction and 19 were sent in jail under the maintenance public order (MPO).

He said that a total of 33 people who had damaged public and private property during the violent protests have so far been identified through CCTV footage and videos available on social media. He said that further arrests will be made as police were carrying out raids across the city.

The Supreme Court while suspending the death sentence awarded to Asia Bibi by a trial court in the blasphemy case had ordered to free her on October 31.

After the verdict, religious parties took to the streets and held demonstrations across the country and caused destruction and damaged public and private property and set several motorcycles and vehicles on fire.

According to police sources, in Islamabad, cases have been registered against 700 people and 56 arrested while 26 have been sent on physical remand.

Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi has summoned a report from the Federal Investigation Agency, the National Database Registration Authority and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority about the identities of the rioters and miscreants. The government has also established a complaint cell to collect videos of miscreants involved in damaging property and harassing citizens.

According to the interior ministry, citizens can share pictures and videos of those involved in damaging state and private property through WhatsApps on 0331 5480011. The ministry has assured that the name and numbers of the citizens who share pictures and videos of the violent protesters will be kept confidential.

The ministry on Sunday released initial pictures of the miscreants involved in vandalising property and harming the citizens during the demonstrations, which ended on Friday after the government, reached an agreement with the protesters.

Sources said that action against miscreants was being taken on the directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan. According to the sources, the interior ministry has issued directives to all provincial governments to identify the miscreants who had played havoc with public and private property during the recent protests and put them behind bars.

The sources said that local police and other law enforcement agencies with the help of intelligence agencies have speed up the crackdown on all anti-social elements.

The government has announced that it would not spare those involved in rioting and damaging property. The Ministry of Interior has already issued orders for the Federal Investigation Agency and the police to take action against persons who were identified in the footage causing destruction to property.