ISLAMABAD  -  The capital city wore a deserted look as the sit-in of the activists of religious-political parties against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi who was falsely accused of the blasphemy, continued at Faizabad interchange here on the second consecutive day on Thursday. It was a bit calm with less traffic on the roads of the city.

The situation also led to a thin presence in offices, though the public schools were open on the day. However, the government has announced a holiday for the capital’s educational institutions for today (Friday) in the wake of the tense situation arising out of the sit-in. around 2500-3000 protesters have been camped at the Faizabad interchange despite government’s appeals to disperse peacefully. The protesters had also blocked Tramri Chowk here by parking trucks on the road. According to the Islamabad district administration, Tramari Chowk has been cleared though few policemen got hit by stones. Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat also got a minor injury. However, sources in the police said that Islamabad police has partially evacuated the Tramri Chowk by using tear gas and baton charging the protesters. According to unconfirmed reports, three protesters got bullet injuries at Tramari Chowk as police tried to disperse them. Tension prevailed in the area for hours as the leaders of the protesters made announcements from the stage against the personnel of the law-enforcement agencies.

However, the overall situation was under control till the filing of this report. Security remained on high alert in the city to avert any untoward situation while personnel of the law-enforcement agencies patrolled on the city roads.

The areas of Barakahu, Kashmir Highway and Aabpara were also cleared for traffic by the authorities with the use of passive force. In Islamabad, the motorway exit and entry to Kashmir Highway has also been opened, according to the district administration. The residents suffered a lot due to absence of public transport and closure of the roads and had to walk on foot to reach their destinations. Women and elders were seen walking on the main roads near Faizabad while holding their luggage as the activists kept blocking the interchange. The road-users faced difficulties in travelling from Islamabad to Rawalpindi and vice versa due to the closure of the

roads. The road-users opted for diversions to skip the blocked squares. Heavy contingents of police and FC remained present at the flashpoints. Suspension of the cellular and internet services added to the woes of the residents. Late on Wednesday night, the authorities put their heads together to resolve the issue amicably. A meeting was held under the chair of senior police officer Waqar Chohan and participated by Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat and SSP (Operations) Islamabad police. The meeting mulled over different options including an operation to disperse the protesters but later decided otherwise. According to the sources, the personnel of Punjab Constabulary, AJK police, and FC has been sent back, according to the sources.

On Wednesday, District Magistrate ICT wrote to Moulana Inayat ul Haq, Markazi Ameer Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah, Islamabad to apprise him of the sensitive situation in the wake of protest which later turned into a sit-in.

The Islamabad district magistrate, in the letter informed TLYRA leadership that since the government has imposed Section 144 in the capital, legal assemblies or protests can only be held at the Parade Ground, after gaining a No Objection Certificate. It warned that legal action will be taken against the party if it holds a protest without an NOC. It further warned that the administration will take legal action against the party if its workers try to enter the Red Zone.