ISLAMABAD - Life remained partially paralyzed in the twin cities on Sunday as around 3500 protesters are still maintaining a hold over Faizabad Interchange after police and other security agencies failed to disperse activists and supporters of Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah.
The number of the protesters swelled hours after the failed operation, as more activists joined the sit-in after the police crackdown, according to police sources. The sources said that a rally comprising around 1500 protesters from Kotli also joined the protesters at Faizabad on Sunday. They were being led by Tanvir Shah, Sanaullah and Asif Mahmood, according to the police sources.
The protesters seemed to be better prepared in putting up resistance than the law enforcement agencies and administration, resulting in the retreat of the law-enforcers. The protesters had been camping out at the Faizabad Interchange for nearly three weeks. The law-enforcers had the upper hand early on Saturday morning but the protesters turned the tables on the law-enforcers after a stiff resistance. The security personnel found themselves losing ground than they were able to advance.
The action against the protesters collapsed after hours-long clashes on Saturday that resulted in the death of six persons while the body of an unknown protester was still lying with the protesters who seemed indecisive where to take it for burial.
The protesters chanted slogans against the government, the law-enforcers and others. Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi has been taking the centre stage at the sit-in venue while the law-enforcers have been holding their positions at a distance, preventing the chances of a further clash.
Three of the protesters who were killed on Saturday were buried in Rawalpindi, one in Mandi Bahauddin and one in Pindigheb while the body of one unknown person was with the protesters.
On the other hand, Rawat T-Chowk remained blocked where around 200 protesters have been staging a sit-in. Tarnol Chowk, Koral Chowk, Kuri Road and Bhara Kahu roads have been cleared. Around 3500 protesters are still sitting at Faizabad. The government has announced to resume dialogue with the protesters to end the sit-in.
At least 168 persons including 64 policemen, 53 FC personnel were injured in the clashes on Saturday. Meanwhile, the government has put the Polyclinic and the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad on high alert with the provision of extra beds and sufficient quantity of medicine.
The Faizabad sit-in entered the 20th day on Sunday and the prolonged protest has compounded miseries of the residents of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and surrounding areas.
The blockade of the main junction between the two cities and traffic diversions have been resulting in traffic jams, forcing commuters and motorists to spend hours on roads. Besides serious disruption to business activities in some localities, students, job0goer, daily-wager, and patients have been facing worst problems due to the on-going sit-in. The metro bus service between Rawalpindi and Islamabad has remained suspended for the last many days.