women, newsmen baton charged
ISLAMABAD (January 01 2009): Police have unleashed violence on women activists, who were staging a peaceful protest demonstration in Rawalpindi against continuous gas load shedding. The protesters blocked the Islamabad Highway at Karal Chowk near Benazir Bhutto international airport (BBIA) on Wednesday morning.
No high-level police official or anybody from the district administration came on site and the situation was left on a junior police officer and his party. Police personnel, led by a sub inspector, baton-charged the protesting women, while journalists were also manhandled and police broke their cameras.
This highhandedness has further aggravated the situation and angry people forced the police to leave the area and blocked the Islamabad Highway. Police started ruthless teargas shelling on the demonstrators.
According to details, people of Dhok Hafiz and adjacent areas of BBIA came out to take part in the protest against police highhandedness. The demonstrators having women in majority came on Islamabad Highway, chanting slogans against the government for unscheduled load shedding.
In the mean time, a contingent of local police arrived and in spite of listening to the problems of people and making any peaceful move to open the highway, started beating the protestors and journalists covering the scene. Women were beaten up brutally, kicked off and baton-charged by police personnel and as a result many women were badly injured and fainted.
Fatima, a housewife of middle age, told this scribe that they were forced to come out on streets, as they were unable to cook food for their families due to unscheduled load-shedding. She said that gas load shedding and electricity outage made their lives miserable and they were completely in a state of trauma. “We have voted for this democratic government and what they are giving us in return”, she asked, adding that they had turned the country into a horrible state.
Source: Business Recorder