Mass protests have been ongoing in Islamabad for several weeks already after the authorities made a decision to amend the Election Act by excluding a provision that had obliged candidates to confirm the Finality of Prophethood, which is the unanimous belief of the Muslim world that the Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet of Allah.
Media reports quoted an interior ministry order, which authorised the deployment of "sufficient" military troops in Islamabad to "control law and order" in the city until further notice.
Security forces launched on Saturday a crackdown on religious protesters camping at Faizabad Intersection in Islamabad since November 8. "TV channels are advised to exhibit utmost sensitivity regarding the matter and refrain from live coverage", it added.
The Federal Minister for Interior chaired a high-level meeting in the presence of Islamabad Chief Commissioner, Inspector General (IG), SSP and Deputy Commissioner, Top security officers from police as well as senior officials of Rawalpindi and Islamabad administrations were present in the discussion.
Ahsan Iqbal said the protesters wanted to replicate the Lal Masjid and Model Town type incidents, but the government was showing restraint to resolve the issue amicably. They support Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of Tehreek-e Labbaik Pakistan, the hardline Islamist movement spearheading demonstrations.
Angry mobs earlier set fire to four police vans and attacked journalists, local broadcaster Geo News reported.
The protesters are demanding the resignation of federal law minister Zahid Hamid over a hastily abandoned amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear. Police have also used water cannons to disperse the protesters.
It is worth mentioning that the government's strict decision of operation against the Faizabad protestors has backfired and protests have erupted throughout the nation. Severe traffic jams, closed schools, suffering businesses all were the cons of this protest.
After banning news channels, the government has also shut down social media websites including FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter. There were protests reported from Karachi, Lahore, Faislabad, Peshawar and the Silakot-Wazirabad road in Punjab province. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, head of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army's media wing, said that Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa telephoned Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and suggested that the sit-in be resolved peacefully.