ISLAMABAD   -  The interior ministry has started criminal proceedings against rioters involved in destroying property during the three-day countrywide protests against a Supreme Court verdict acquitting Aasia Bibi.

The ministry on Sunday released initial pictures of the miscreants involved in vandalising property and harming common citizens during the demonstrations, which ended on Friday after the government reached an agreement with the protesters.

The ministry also appealed to citizens to cooperate with the police and the Federal Investigation Agency in identifying the rioters. “We will release more pictures of those involved in rioting and destroying public property in the coming days,” a statement from the interior ministry read.

“The interior ministry received pictures from the special branch and other sources. We have asked the police and the FIA for their cooperation in identifying the perpetrators,” the statement said.

The interior ministry also directed the police and FIA to take action after identifying the perpetrators.

On Saturday, the interior ministry assured of action against elements involved in damaging properties and harming common citizens. The ministry said it was in the process of identifying such elements and that action will be taken against them.

The same day, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and senior leader Afzal Qadri were booked on charges of rioting and disrupting peace in various parts of Lahore. Police said 500 people, including Rizvi and Qadri, have been booked in 11 cases. The suspects face charges of disrupting peace and blocking roads in Lahore.

In Karachi, a total of 12 cases have been registered against the rioters, police said. The cases have been registered initially against ‘unknown suspects’ but the miscreants would soon be identified with the help of CCTV footages and social media videos, police added.

Meanwhile, Islamabad Police have registered 100 first information reports (FIRs) against more than 100 protesters for their involvement in vandalism in the federal capital.

According to the office of Deputy Commissioner Islamabad on Sunday, 12 persons were arrested and warrants for 19 were issued under section 3 of Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) by the District Administration for violence and incitement to violence.

The Interior Ministry has also established a complaint cell. The Ministry asked citizens to share videos and pictures of the miscreants involved in vandalising property and harming people on the number 03315480011, promising to protect the identity of the informers.

State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi said that investigations were underway into the incidents of hooliganism on motorway. He vowed to bring culprits to justice.

He said that a crackdown against miscreants involved in damaging public and private properties and vehicles during the country-wide protests had been ordered.