A report received via the People’s resistance mailing list from an activist in Islamabad
On 12th November, 9 days after an unconstitutional act of emergency was declared, the regime crossed a new threshold by shamelessly attacking, arresting and detaining schoolchildren in Islamabad. A group of students, most of them between 14 and 18 years of age, was silently walking outside a public park as a sign of protest when it was accosted by Islamabad Police. The Police told the students that they needed special approval from the magistrate’s office to walk any further and that they had to wait until such approval or the magistrate himself arrived. The students, unwilling to challenge the police, obliged and sat down where
they were. Twenty minutes later, the students were informed that they did not have permission to proceed any further, and were asked to return to their starting point and disperse. Once again, the students obliged, showing that they did not want to confront the Police who had clearly been given specific orders from above.
As they were walking back, the students were surrounded by more than 500 policemen their ranks now reinforced with Punjab Police and the commandos of the Anti-Terrorist Force and were asked to disperse immediately. When some of the students pointed out that they were merely walking back to their starting point, as previously ordered, the Police turned violent. They started manhandling the children and charging them with batons, pushing them into police vans. 48 boys were physically
assaulted and detained, amongst them a 12-year old boy. Even after they had turned themselves in without resistance, many of them were beaten with sticks and severely bruised. They were detained in the Margalla Police Station for hours, and were prevented from meeting visitors or making calls. They were eventually released after they had signed written assurances not to attend protests in the future. This is another shameless act by an increasingly brutal regime. We must not allow this to go on.
Video Clip Notes:
The video was compiled using the much footage taken from cell phone cameras. The approximate different segments of the video (separated by still pictures) are:
- Students outside McDonald’s
- Students walking on the grassy path, NOT on the road. They were NOT disrupting traffic.
- They only started removing the tapes from their mouths when the media or policemen came.
- The students stopped to talk to the police.
- First police officer, one in light blue clothes said, “Just stop here for a while let the magistrate come.
- he magistrate comes in, in white clothes, asking the students to return.
- They all agree and start walking back singing the national anthem of Pakistan.
- People traveling by also showed their support to us.
- Reinforcements starting arriving. Riot police surrounded the students. Many others were on the way.
- Students agreed to everything, even to being arrested.
- The boys formed a circle around the girls so that they would be free from the indecencies our police are known to inflict.
- The policemen stormed them, charged them with batons, hurled abuses and shoved 48 students into police van (Unfortunately we don’t have footage of all of that as people were more concerned with saving themselves than filming it. Some media channels were there and they might have it).