Civil Society Decries Islamabad Police For Arresting, Manhandling Activist Ismat Shahjahan

Civil Society Decries Islamabad Police For Arresting, Manhandling Activist Ismat Shahjahan
Islamabad police arrested and assaulted veteran leftist politician and federal president of Women Democratic Front (WDF) Ismat Raza Shahjahan along with scores of people for protesting against Capital Development Authority (CDA) at the demolition of katchi abadis (informal settlements or slums) which rendered the poor residents homeless.

Even though Ismat was released after a few hours, others arrested along with her remained in police custody without any charges filed against them by police in an official first information report (FIR).

According to reports, the Islamabad police apprehended nearly 50 protesters who were opposing the CDA's eviction of slum dwellers near the federal capitals Sector D-12 area without registration of FIRs.

Ismat was reportedly arrested along with her husband Professor Shahjahan, who is also a senior Awami Workers Party (AWP) leader. However, Ismat has clarified that Professor Shahjahan was not arrested.

While Ismat Raza Shahjahan was released later, the other protesters remained in police custody at Islamabad's Golra Sharif Police Station.

The Awami Workers Party (AWP), the Women Democratic Front (WDF), and members of civil society roundly condemned the Islamabad police's high-handed arrest of political workers and protesters.

Later in the day, Women Democratic Forum tweeted that the police had lodged an FIR against Ismat Shahjahan and others on the charges of attempted murder.

The police also included other dubious charges, ranging from theft to mischief causing damage, against the arrested residents of the Sector D-12 katchi abadi.

On Sunday afternoon, Ismat tweeted a message thanking supporters and well-wishers for their solidarity, and gave an update on the legal proceedings that have been initiated against her and her family for protesting for the rights of underprivileged residents of Pakistan's federal capital Islamabad.

Ismat wrote that she was suffering from "minor health issues" due to torture and manhandling at the Golra Sharif police station.