KHANEWAL, July 8: A large number of citizens on Wednesday blocked Abdul Hakim-Faisalabad Road for several hours to condemn police action against the demonstrators who were protesting kidnapping of a 20-year-old Hafiz-i-Quran girl from Attari Colony by three persons.
The protests erupted in the afternoon after Sajjad, alias Sajju, and his two accomplices entered Aashiq Husain’s house in Attari Colony at around 11am and abducted his daughter, Iram Shahzadi, on gunpoint.
The kidnappers took Iram to an undisclosed location despite facing some resistance from family and neighbours. The girl’s father, a shopkeeper, was not at home at the time of incident.
Locals later went to Sajju’s house and demanded of his family to return the abducted girl or to hand over Sajju’s sister in return. On refusal, they barged in the house and lifted Sajju’s 12-year-old sister.
Meanwhile, the police rushed to the spot and rescued the 12-year-old, promising to recover Iram at the earliest.
Later, a large number of citizens gathered on the main road leading to Faisalabad and blocked it, throwing traffic out of gear.
The police again rushed to the spot, but a scuffle between the law-enforcers and the demonstrators erupted, leaving dozens, including two policemen, injured. The police used teargas and also resorted to baton charge to disperse the protesters, but to no avail.
Some of the 3,000 participants in the mob snatched guns from the police and tore their uniform. The Khanewal district police officer (DPO) also rushed to the scene and called reinforcements from the nearby police stations. The protesters demanded the arrest of Sajju, recovery of the girl, suspension of the SHO and registration of a case.
“I have made SHO Khawar Manzoor an OSD besides ordering an inquiry into the incident. We have also registered a case against Sajju and his accomplices, but despite all efforts they (the protesters) are not ready to end the protest,” DPO Kamran Khan told Dawn.
He said though the kidnapping of the 20-year-old was a tragic incident, her relatives and some other protesters attacked Sajju’s house and lifted his sister too.
“The protesters snatched rifles from the policemen and tore their uniform. We have promised them to recover the girl and arrest the accused, but they are not ready to end the protest.”
The demonstration was still in progress till the filing of this report by midnight.