Two killed, property torched: Rioters go berserk
GUJAR KHAN: Two persons were killed and scores others, including police personnel, were critically injured when local residents protesting against prolonged power outages here on Wednesday went berserk setting ablaze vehicles and offices of the power utility and police as well as a judicial lock-up.
The deceased, however, could not be identified till filing of this report at midnight. At about 3pm, the enraged residents gathered at G.T. Road and blocked traffic between Lahore and Rawalpindi. In the meantime, some of the protesters, mostly young men, attacked the offices of executive engineer and SDO (revenue) of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) and set the furniture and records on fire.
Later, enforcements called from police constabulary Rawat, Mandra and Jatli police reached the spot and resorted to baton charge and tear gassing the protesters. At this, the mob turned its rage towards the police prompting the latter to open fire into the air.
The protesters, however, continued their assault on the police forcing them to run for cover. Some of the policemen took shelter in the markets and houses in the residential areas while the angry mobs set on fire a bus of Punjab Constabulary Rawat and a van of Rawat police.
During the police firing, at least six young men sustained serious injuries. The rioters then attacked the office of DSP Gujar Khan and set ablaze two police vans parked there and later also torched the whole building. Later, another mob broke the main gate of the judicial lock-up and set free dozens of under-trial prisoners besides burning the record and belongings of the policemen. According to unconfirmed reports, the rioters also snatched weapons from the guards of the lock-up.
One of the guards identified as Jabbar was serious injured. Reports also said over two dozens policemen sustained injuries and some of them were shifted to Rawalpindi hospitals. Out of the six injured protesters, only three could be identified as Naveed, Subhan and Eid Mohammad. Two of the injured were shifted to Rawalpindi while the remaining taken to the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Gujar Khan.
Malik Asif, the SHO of Gujar Khan, when contacted, said he was not in a position to say anything about the names and whereabouts of the injured policemen. A large umber of people, including women and children, remained stranded on the highway and the main railway track between Karachi and Rawalpindi. The DCO and capital police officer Rawalpindi later reached the city and held negotiations with the protesters after which traffic was restored at about 12 midnight.