Islamabad/Lahore (Staff Report/Agencies): Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) have arrested more than 1,000 suspects and registered 130 cases against those involved in rioting during a nationwide protest following the Supreme Court verdict acquitting Asia Bibi of blasphemy charge.
The crackdown was launched after a meeting chaired by Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi decided to take action against the culprits involved in violence and damage to public and private property during the last week protests.
The interior ministry directed all the provincial governments and federal agencies to take action against the culprits.
Afridi has summoned a report today from the FIA, National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) regarding the identities of the rioters.
According to sources, videos circulating on social media of the protests will also be scanned, adding that assistance will be sought from the Ministry of Defence to identify the rioters.
The interior ministry had also asked all the provincial governments to convey WhatsApp numbers to general public through electronic and print media so that public could send information/ videos that might be referred to relevant departments for necessary action.
She said the protesters had injured 63 police officers in different areas of the province who were shifted to nearby hospitals for treatment. Of them, 58 policemen were discharged but five others who had sustained severe injuries were still getting treatment.
The Punjab police spokesperson said about 800 people were arrested for violating section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960 and 300 others under the FIRs registered for injuring policemen, damaging public and private properties and vehicles in different areas of the province.
She said 300 suspects were identified through different footage available to the police. She said the number of the FIRs and the arrested would increase with the passage of time as the police were taking across-the-board action against the miscreants.
Similarly, the police in Karachi detained two men on charges of inciting violence and causing harm to public property while cases were also registered against 12 more.
In Nawabshah, two TLP leaders and dozens of protesters were arrested for violence and hate speech.
After the Supreme Court’s Oct 31 judgement that acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, in a blasphemy case, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) of Khadim Hussain Rizvi launched a countrywide protest, bringing several cities to a standstill for nearly three days.