Islamabad Metro bus station resumes service after bearing damage of Rs12m

ISLAMABAD: A view of the damaged railings installed recently by Metro Bus Authority aside the metro track at Jinnah Avenue. The protestors uprooted these railings while heading towards the Parliament House. INP PHOTO by Sunny Ghouri

Metro bus service between Islamabad and Rawalpindi has resumed today (Thursday) as protesters cleared D-Chowk after days-long sit-in outside the Parliament House on Wednesday.

Repair work has also been started at the stations, which were damaged by the protesters.

The authorities estimate loss of nearly twelve million rupees due to complete destruction of various metro stations.

Announcing the decision on Wednesday night, the protestors ended their sit-in after claiming the government had agreed to a number of their demands including the hanging of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan denied however that a deal had been struck, saying the demonstrators left “on their own accord”.

Read more: Govt prepares to clear Islamabad sit-in

The protesters — who numbered some 25,000 at their peak — had gathered Sunday in support of Mumtaz Qadri, who was hanged in February five years after he assassinated Punjab governor Salman Taseer over his calls to reform the country s blasphemy laws.

metro station

The demonstrators clashed with security forces in Islamabad before setting up camp outside key government buildings along the capital s main Constitution Avenue.

Ashraf Asif Jalali, one of the protests’ main leaders, told reporters at the protest site Wednesday evening: “As a result of the continuous four-day sit-in, the government has accepted our demands.”

“Nobody involved in blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (PBUH) will be given concessions, whether they are Asia Bibi or anybody else,” he added, referring to a Christian woman on death row since 2010 over a dispute with women involving a bowl of water.

He added that the government had also agreed to not make any changes to Pakistan s blasphemy law.

However, the interior minister denied any such deal was made.

metro bus

“There has been nor written or any other form of agreement,” Khan said.

“We were about to give orders to law enforcement agencies for clearing the area but then two religious personalities intervened.”

The minister added that the protesters then decided to leave on their “own accord”.

A police source said more than 7,000 security forces were poised to clear the sit-in, including the paramilitary Rangers and Frontier Corps with reinforcements from the Punjab police, while army troops guarded key government buildings.

Read more: Govt closes Mumtaz Qadri chapter for good