Pakistan’s Chaman protest sees more violence, as 20 injured, 45 arrested
This marked the third consecutive clash after 40 demonstrators and 17 security officials were wounded in a similar incident a day prior.

at 1:12 am
POK and Kashmir News
Pic from online videos of the clashes in Chaman

Quetta, June 8: Tensions continued to soar in the border town of Chaman in Balochistan as violent clashes erupted between the protesters and law enforcement authorities, resulting in injuries to 20 people including eight security personnel. Over 45 people were arrested after being charged with vandalism, destruction of property, and assault.

This incident marked the third consecutive clash after 40 demonstrators and 17 security officials were wounded in a similar incident a day prior.

The unrest erupted over a stringent watch being kept on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and the new Pakistani law which only allows people with valid passports and visas to cross.

In addition to today’s arrests, the Pakistan government has closed all train services between Chaman and the city of Quetta due to security concerns and increasing number of protesters.

“No train left for the border town of Chaman on Friday from Quetta due to security reasons,” a senior official of Pakistan Railways confirmed.

Officials lay blame on the protesters saying that despite assurances from tribal elders that the protesters would confine their demonstrations to a designated area, they operated beyond their zone and attacked public and private property with sticks and stones.

Business centres and numerous government offices remained closed on Friday due to the violent protests, with banks also being closed for several days.

“National Bank has even relocated its staff to Qila Abdullah to ensure continued operation of its Chaman branch,” a bank official told the media.

Security officials which included the police as well as paramilitary forces; namely Pakistan Levies and the Frontier Corps, responded to the protests through shelling tear gas to disperse the protesters who were attacking security personnel with sticks.

“At least 20 people, including eight security personnel, were injured in the clashes, bringing the total number of the injured to 60 over the past two to three days,” a senior police officer deployed in Chaman said.

Meanwhile, the protesters continue to stage their sit-in, demanding the release of their arrested leaders and all individuals taken into custody over the past three days.

Meanwhile, a high-level meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Mir Safraz Bugti on Friday, reviewed the situation in Chaman, and resolved not to allow anyone to challenge the state’s authority or engage in violent acts under the pretext of protest in Balochistan. He went on to add that the government is open to dialogue and the protesters can negotiate the differences with the authorities, but no violence will be tolerated.

In a show of solidarity, the Awami National Party, Pashtoonkhwa National Awami Party, Pishin Tahaffuz Movement and National Democratic Party — jointly staged a demonstration in front of the Quetta Press Club in support of Chaman protesters and their demands.

A large number of workers and supporters of these parties carried party flags and banners inscribed with their demands. Speaking on the occasion, leaders of the three parties condemned the arrest of protesters and demanded that the government accept all demands of the Chaman traders and protesters.