HR Protests erupt in Pakistan’s Peshawar amid outcry over police brutality

Thousands of protestors gathered on the streets of Pakistan’s Peshawar on June 26 against police brutality, days after a video surfaced on social media showing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police abusing and stripping a man naked while filming the ordeal.
Demonstrators gathered outside Tehkal Police Station — where the incident took place — shouting slogans against officials and attacked the main gate by pelting it with stones. The protesters also caused damage to CCTV cameras in the vicinity and set a motorcycle alight.
This was the second day for the protests against the police. SP Saddar Circle A S Khalid said that the situation was brought under control shortly after protesters gathered.
“Some youngsters were trying to disturb law and order,” he said. Officials used tear gas to disperse the protesters.
“We are protesting to demand justice for the victim,” said 20-year-old Ahmed Khan. Protesters also gathered outside the provincial assembly’s building and staged a demonstration against police torture. In order to disperse the protesters, officials used tear gas.
SP Khalid added that a separate protest was also held outside Town Police Station, in which a large number of workers from different political parties participated.
On June 24, three policemen were arrested and booked for assault and other charges after a video showing them abusing and stripping a man — identified as a 30-year-old Afghan national who currently resides in Peshawar’s Tehkal area.
In the video showing the abuse, police personnel were heard forcing the man to apologize for using abusive language against police officers. A third video shot separately showed the man apologizing for his behaviour and saying he will not repeat this.
On June 25, hundreds of protesters, mostly from Tehkal area, took to the streets.
Protesters gathered in front of the Peshawar Press Club building and blocked the Sher Shah Suri Road, burned old tyres and shouted slogans against police brutality. Later, some of them walked to Surey Pul Chowk in front of the provincial assembly’s building, where they were joined by a large group of protesters from Tehkal area.
There followed clashes between the police and protesters. Following public outrage, the provincial government announced the holding of a probe into the incident through a Peshawar High Court judge.
Adviser to KP CM Ajmal Wazir said a judge would be notified for the probe in consultation with the high court’s chief justice.
Ajmal said four police officials, including the station house officer of Tehkal area, had been suspended before three of them were arrested, while an FIR had been registered against the SHO as well.

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