Islamabad/rawalpindi - Chaos and uncertainty gripped residents of the twin cities on Saturday after crackdown was launched against Tehreek-e- Labaik Ya Rasool Allah workers and supporters.

The operation left the residents of the twin cities in a state of panic and confusion. Such situation was last witnessed in the sister cities when operation was conducted against the administration of Lal Masjid in 2007.

However, the law enforcement agencies had to face a humiliating situation in freeing the seized Faizabad Bridge as the TLYR supporters pushed them back.

Around 8,000 LEAs personnel failed in vacating the three kilometres area when the as much as 2,000 TLYR supporters gave them tough time despite all efforts carried by the government forces.

The lack of coordination among the LEAs led the protestors to reinforce and push the LEAs into streets of the federal capital for refuge.

Hundreds of LEAs compelled the protestors on the bridge in early hours of the action but lack of support at the required time led to the humiliating defeat.

A senior police official while talking to The Nation said, “We are fighting without any leadership as nobody knows who to follow and how”.

He said that instead of forceful action, the cat and mouse game was being played the protestors.

The heavy shelling which forced the protestors back in early stage of action also turned against the LEAs when the wind direction changed and police officials started retreating from the set position.

“The burning of camps and fire supported the protestors as it brought to nil impact of shelling and smoke,” said the official.

The LEAs also remained confused in attacking their opponents as the continued recitation of Islamic verses and prose by the TLYR leadership gripped their hands and minds psychologically. “Why we must attack them? May be they are on right path,” said Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel Zubair Ahmed.

He said that there was no clear command of advancement by the leadership.

Meanwhile, police official Mohammad Asghar said that the FC force had not supported the police in the action and they were standing behind them only.

The FC personal Fazl-e-Rabbi while talking to The Nation said that there was lack of planning in the line of action. “We failed in disconnecting loudspeakers of the TLYR being used to motivate the protestors,” he added.

Dozens of FC personnel stormed two Edhi ambulances who were shifting the injured protestors from the battlefield. The FC personnel stopped the Edhi ambulances and forced the injured protestors out of the ambulances, subjecting them to violence with batons.

Situation at hospitals

Above 200 people, including LEAs personnel and supporters of TLYR were brought to the hospitals in the federal capital in injured condition.

The toll of LEAs personnel remained higher than the TLYR supporters, as out of the total 201 injured, 138 were LEAs personnel. All the injured were reported out of danger.

The injured were shifted to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and Federal Government Services Hospital (FGSH) Polyclinic.

The PIMS received 69 police and 57 FC personnel while twelve forces personnel were shifted to the Polyclinic.

Out of total 178 injured shifted to the PIMS, as many as 55 were retained while others were discharged after emergency medical treatment. Around 62 protestors in both the hospitals were brought injured. No one was reported critical.

As per PIMS emergency in-charge Dr Farrukh Kamal, 100 beds were allocated keeping the current situation under consideration. Similarly, 50 beds were vacated at Polyclinic hospital for emergency situation.

Administrator PIMS Dr Altaf Hussain while talking to The Nation said that patients brought to PIMS were not seriously injured and were being discharged after the first aid treatment. “Mostly persons received head injuries and fractures due to baton charging and stone pelting,” he said.

He also said that a number of patients brought to the hospital had fainted due to police shelling, but overall situation remained in control.

Dr Altaf also added that two persons received rubber bullets but the injury was only superficial.

He also added that keeping the red alert situation in the city, rostrum of the hospital had been called and leaves had been cancelled. The blood stock had been increased and ambulances were available to tackle the situation.

Spokesperson Polyclinic Dr Shareef Astori while talking to The Nation said that all staff was available on duty and till filing of the story, no serious patient had been brought to hospital.

Rawalpindi situation

More than 51 protesters and policemen landed in the allied hospitals after clashes erupted between police and the protestors at Faizabad Interchange.

Though the district administration had directed the three government-run hospitals to make arrangements to deal with the emergency cases before start of the operation, the Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) failed to manage the situation, which led to mess in the emergency section of the hospital. Scores of irate protestors took control of the emergency department, abused the doctors and paramedical staff.

A visit paid by this scribe to the BBH revealed that at the dressing room, there was only two beds and the clash between the attendants and the doctors erupted when six injured brought at the same time including two of them injured with bullets.

Muhammad Azeem, 10 years old boy, who received head injury on his forehead was brought to the hospital at 4:30 pm while the doctors were busy in examining other injured. However, his father Muhammad Afzal tried to convince the doctors to examine his child but the doctors asked him to wait.

He refused to listen and forcefully opened the door and brought his son in the examination room, which resulted in a brief clash. Later, the administration members of the hospital arrived and settled down the issue. 

Muhammad Sharjeel, 28 years, who is working at Saddar market was going to his house at Chak Shahzad from Murree Road. As he reached at Faizabad, a stray bullet hit his back.

He was immediately brought to the hospital by his colleague Nawaz. “We were going to home as there was no other way to go to Chak Shahzad except the troubled Faizabad Interchange,” he said. 

He said that when we reached at Faizabad, Sharjeel received bullet in his leg. He was admitted in the Benazir Bhutto Hospital.

As many as 36 patients brought to the BBH included four policemen and a female polio worker. Majority of the patients were brought to BBH, being in close vicinity with Faizabad.

 The DHQ Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Khalid Randhawa while talking to media persons said that the hospital had made arrangements to deal with emergency cases and allocated separate beds in the emergency ward. He said that routine patients were less in number on Saturday as compared to routine days.

At Holy Family Hospital, as many as eleven injured persons were brought, including five policemen. “We sent eight patients back to their homes after giving them treatment as no one was seriously injured,” said Holy Family Hospital Additional Medical Superintendent Dr Tariq Niazi while talking to The Nation. 

He said that three injured were admitted in the emergency for observation including a policeman. He said that the condition of the patients was good and they would also be discharged after few hours.