BSC long march sparks tensions in Islamabad, 283 arrested

Islamabad Police Special Report

ISLAMABAD: The capital city witnessed a tumultuous night as the Baloch Solidarity Committee’s (BSC) long march led by Chairperson Dr Maharang Baloch, unfolded in the heart of Islamabad. The protest, which began peacefully, escalated into a confrontation between authorities and demonstrators.

The Senior Superintendent of Police Operations in Islamabad reported that approximately 250 protestors, including 12 children and 45 women, arrived at Peshawar Toll Plaza at 1700 hours on December 20. Negotiations with law enforcement officials failed as the BSC rejected offers to protest at designated locations, instead choosing to enter Islamabad near 26 No Chungi.

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The report says that despite police warnings and offers of alternative protest sites at H-9 sector or F-9 Park, the protestors, armed with batons, reached the National Press Club (NPC), where they closed roads on both sides. Authorities informed them of a ban on protests in the Red Zone/High-Security Zone (HSZ) due to security concerns.

By 01:00 am, the situation intensified as protestors, armed with batons, moved toward the Marriott gate of HSZ. In response, police used non-lethal tear gas shells and a water cannon at Ayub Chowk to disperse the crowd. Stones were thrown at the police at Chungi No 26, resulting in arrests and the dispersal of protestors by 03:00 am.

Around 40 to 80 protestors retreated from Ayub Chowk but dispersed before Press Club at 03:20 am. Fortunately, no injuries were reported except for one lady protestor who felt unwell and received first aid at PIMS Hospital.

A total of 283 individuals, including 282 males and 1 female, were arrested, and two FIRs were registered against the protestors for violations and objectionable slogans against the State and Islamabad Police. 14 male protestors sustained minor injuries, and three police officers were injured during the incident.

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The situation was finally brought under control at 03:30 am, with roads cleared due to the coordinated efforts of law enforcement agencies. The District Administration, ICT Police, and other law enforcement agencies participated in ensuring a proper resolution to the situation.

Despite the challenges faced, police officers demonstrated efficiency, devotion, and dedication in handling the complex circumstances arising from the BSC’s long march, highlighting the delicate balance between the right to protest and maintaining public order, the report said.

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