Chaman resembles battlefield as protesters attack govt buildings, installations
The clashes occurred even as the Pakistan government on Friday reaffirmed that movement across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border has to be regulated by visas.

at 12:36 am
POK and Kashmir News
Pic from online videos of the clashes in Chaman

Quetta, June 7:  Angry protesters vandalised government buildings and installations in Chaman, demanding the release of their arrested sit-in leaders. At least 40 people, including 17 security personnel, were injured in the clashes that left the border town in Balochistan province looking like a battlefield.

Protesters also took out large rallies and demonstrations across the town, effectively shutting down the city.

The arrested leaders were part of a months-long sit-in in Chaman to protest the Pakistan government’s decision to only allow those with valid passports and visas to cross the Chaman border crossing. Previously, Pakistanis and Afghans would cross the border upon showing their respective identity cards.

The clashes came even as the Pakistan government on Friday reaffirmed that movement across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border has to be regulated by visas.

During a media briefing in Islamabad, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch stressed that border movement between Pakistan and Afghanistan should be conducted under visa regulations.

Officials in Chaman said the clashes started when the protesters tried to block major roads, including the national highway linking Quetta with Kandahar, disrupting traffic with barricades.

However, the local administration, along with security forces, including police, Levies and personnel of Frontier Corps, lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the mob and restored traffic by removing hurdles from the highway.

The protesters also staged a demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner Office complex and hurled stones at the building and forcibly closed all shops at Mall Road and other business centres. They also beat some shopkeepers with sticks, Dawn reported.

The demonstrators also disrupted communication systems and attempted to cut power supplies to the Frontier Corps (FC) fort. They hurled stones at the FC headquarters in Chaman.

The forces and local administration resorted to firing rubber bullets on the protesters when the latter began attacking the security personnel.

Over 20 protesters received rubber bullet injuries during the clashes and were shifted to the district hospital in Chaman. Six were shifted to Quetta for treatment.

The law enforcement agencies have arrested over four dozen protesters for pelting stones at the security forces and attacking government buildings.

However, by late evening, tribal elders and political leaders mediated negotiations with the Chaman Deputy Commissioner Athar Abbas Raja, after which the protesters dispersed and the situation became normal.

However, Molvi Abdul Manan, a protest leader, vowed to continue the demonstrations “until the release of our seven leaders who were arrested by Levies the other day and shifted to Quetta Jail”. He demanded that all people arrested over the past two days be released immediately.

Meanwhile, the Balochistan government has decided to open the Badini border crossing at the Pakistan-Afghan border in the Qila Saifullah district for trade with Afghanistan due to uncertainty in Chaman amid the months-long protests.