ISLAMABAD - Zahid Hussein, 53, a constable of Islamabad Capital Territory Police, was not expecting to be thrashed by angry workers of Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek on Monday.
An aging policeman, armed with only a meter-long baton, took position at main entrance of Benazir International Airport in the morning on Monday along with hundreds of his colleagues.
To their shock, diehard PAT workers nearly took revenge by thrashing and wounding over 100 policemen including Zahid Hussein as police tried to resist their entry into the airport where a flight of Emirates Airlines was expected to land in the morning carrying Dr Qadri.
“We underestimated the PAT workers. Even, most of us did not follow standard procedure necessary for us to take on angry mob. Resultantly, the mob landed us in the hospital,” Zahid Hussein said.
He was not alone in the line of fire. Rather hundred of policemen got multiple injuries as the angry PAT workers overcame the policemen and crossed all the barriers to reach Benazir International Airport to warmly welcome their leader.
The police used tear gas and baton charge to disperse the workers, but in vain. Sources from Civil Aviation Authority said, they had to divert the plane to Lahore following the police-workers clashes.
According to eyewitnesses, hundreds of the civilians, armed with batons, pistols and daggers, attacked the policemen deputed at the main gate of the airport and pushed them back. However, police retreated after a pause by using tear gas.
“First time in 36 years, I witnessed police coming under attack by civilians. Policemen were found taking refuge behind walls and cars as a mob attacked them. However, police controlled the situation after using tear gas,” Shahzad Khan, an office boy at petrol pump station situated opposite to main entrance of the airport, said.
According to him, the mob shouted slogans against the Sharif government and blocked the road.
Major clashes were erupted between the police and Qadri’s supporters at Expressway at Koral Chowk situated at a distance of 60 yards from Koral model police station. Qadri’s supporters and policemen got engaged in serious scuffle early in the morning on Monday. Clashes injured a large number of both the policemen and Qadri’s supporters. Here too, police used tear gas against to disperse the mob.
Hospital sources revealed 54 policemen were taken to hospitals of Islamabad including Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (24) and polyclinic hospital (30). While a large number of injured (both civilians and policemen) to the hospitals of Rawalpindi.
No FIR was lodged against the workers until filing of this report.