Lahore/Karachi (Staff Report/Agencies): Protests erupted across the country on Saturday soon after Islamabad police, with the help of Frontier Constabulary personnel and other law enforcement agencies, launched a crackdown against protesters camped out at the Faizabad Interchange since November 8.
Dozens of activists of Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah and Sunni Tehreek staged protests and blocked major roads in several cities of Punjab province to protest police action against the Faizabad protesters.
In Lahore, a large number of religious hardliners blocked Imamia Railway crossing and Lahore-Rawalpindi Road, and set tires alight, disrupting vehicular traffic.
Four people, policemen among them, were injured when the protesters clashed with police personnel in the provincial capital’s Shahdara area. A large number of activists of the protesting religious parties also gathered at the Mall Road and chanted slogans against the government.
In Faisalabad, dozens of workers of the religious parties gathered at Chishtia intersection and blocked the road connecting the city with Sarghoda district.
Similar protesters were also witnessed in Pattoki, Jalapur Bhattian, Ferozwala, Gujranwala, Burewala, Serai Alamgir and Attock and other parts of the province.
The law enforcement agencies launched the operation early Saturday morning after the capital administration’s final deadline of 7am to end the Faizabad sit-in expired.
Police resorted to intense teargas shelling to disperse the crowd, but seemed to have failed to disperse the defiant Islamabad protesters.
“COAS telephoned PM. Suggested to handle Isb Dharna peacefully avoiding violence from both sides as it is not in national interest and cohesion,” DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted on Saturday.
According to a circular issued by PEMRA on Saturday, the “live coverage of any security operation is prohibited, therefore all Satellite TV channels licenses are directed to exhibit utmost sensitivity over the matter and comply with Clause 8(8) of Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct 2015, in letter and spirit and refrain from live coverage of the ongoing operation at Faizabad, Islamabad.”
Section 27 of the PEMRA Act “prohibits broadcasting or re-broadcasting any programme which is likely to create hatred amongst the people or prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order or is likely to disturb public peace”.
Clause 3 of the Electronic Media Code of Conduct, adds, “obligates that the licencee shall ensure that no content is aired which is likely to incite, aid, abet, glamorise or justify violence, commission of any crime, terror or leads to serious public disorder besides being known to false and defamatory.”