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Soldiers secure PTV as marchers storm building, take channel off air

02 September, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: Several police officials and protesters were injured on Monday during clashes.

Scores of protesters were rounded up from the venue as they fought police on Constitution Avenue and roads leading to the Pakistan Secretariat and Prime Minister's House.

Meanwhile, the government appointed Tahir Alam as the Islamabad DIG (operations) with additional charge of acting IG. Alam, who has served as AIG Islamabad and SSP operations before, is known for his strong-arm tactics.

Later, the demonstrators confined themselves to green belts of parliament and gates of the secretariat.

In the morning, the PAT workers stormed the PTV headquarters and took the channel off the air for more than an hours. They reportedly occupied the main control room, cut the transmission and smashed equipment. They also broke the main gate of Pakistan Secretariat and gathered outside the main gate of the PM's House.

Later, the army troops arrived on the scene and persuaded the workers to vacate the PTV building. The protesters managed to inflict some damage to the equipment of the state-run TV as its director news claimed that the protestors have taken some cameras away.

Interestingly, Dr Qadri first celebrated workers' advance in front of the PM's House and occupation of its main gate as well as of PTV building. Later, he disowned the people, saying the ones who broke into PTV building were not his workers.

The protesters beat up SSP (operations) Asmatullah Junejo when he tried to convince them not to enter the PTV building. Junejo received head injuries. Ironically, cops fled from the scene when the mob attacked the SSP. He was later rushed to a hospital.

Meanwhile, the protesters hit a poster bearing the image of PM Nawaz with shoes after storming the PTV headquarters. Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri later said that those who captured the PTV building were not their workers.

Riots continued between the protesters and police with intervals. The protesters armed with stones and batons continued to clash with police which used batons and tear gas to disperse the angry crowd. Imran Khan and Qadri, however, stayed among the protesters, spending most of their time to buck them up.

The Interior Ministry directed to lodge cases against Imran Khan and Dr Tahiurl Qadri for their alleged involvement in an attack on parliament, PTV and PM's House.

Sources in the Secretariat police station said police officials have completed consultations regarding lodging the FIR against Imran Khan.

All diplomatic missions have announced to close their embassies for five days. Political unrest has led to closure of schools, colleges and other offices in twin cities.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday submitted an application for the registration of a case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and federal ministers in connection with Saturday night's police crackdown on demonstrators. PTI leaders Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Shireen Mazari and Jahangir Tareen submitted the application in the Secretariat police station.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and former Islamabad IG Khalid Khattak have also been nominated in the FIR.


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