LAHORE: Clashes erupted between police and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers on Friday following Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s orders to arrest PAT chief Tahirul Qadri for violating the law.
As the police advanced towards the Mihajul Quran office to arrest Qadri it faced strong resistance and had to resort to tear-gas shelling and baton-charge to disperse the PAT workers. Dozens of PAT workers were also arrested and sent to lock-ups, while dozens of policemen and PAT activists received injuries in a clash in Faisal Town. PAT workers hit the policemen with batons and threw back tear gas shells by them. Four policemen received injuries during a clash with the PAT activists.
Meanwhile, after an exchange of hot words with Gulshan Ravi SHO the doctors at the Jinnah Hospital stopped treating the injured policemen and left the surgical emergency in protest. However, Lahore DCO and Jinnah Hospital MS convinced the young doctors to return to their duties. The provincial health department announced an emergency in all the government hospitals to handle any critical situation. Police dispersed the PAT workers by firing shots and tear gas shells and baton-charging them for more than three hours.
The clash between the PAT activists and the police was prompted by the removal of barricades. The PAT activists attacked the police, which resorted to baton charge and fired tear-gas shells to disperse them. Lahore police continued to forcibly impound shipping containers to cordon off the main arteries and roads to thwart PAT’s Youm-e-Shuhada and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) long march. The container drivers were found complaining that the policemen deployed at entry points of the city were demanding bribes to let them in.
They said that the police should impound empty containers, saying most of the containers seized by the police were loaded with goods. They said that the policemen had also taken away the keys and documents of their vehicles and expressed the fear that the policemen would steal goods from the containers. Many of the drivers said they did not know where their vehicles were being used as barricades.
Earlier, PAT workers managed to remove barricades around Tahirul Qadri’s residence in Model Town as well as in front of the Jinnah Hospital and other adjoining roads coming from Minhajul Quran Secretariat in Model Town. At least three policemen were injured during a clash with PAT’s workers in Model Town on Friday morning. The Punjab Police has set up pickets at all the entry points of the city where all vehicles are being thoroughly searched before being allowed to enter the city. The police have also placed containers around the Punjab Assembly. More containers have been placed at the roads leading to the residence of Qadri.
At least five police officials were injured in a clash with PAT activists in Quaidabad area of Faisalabad on Friday. The policemen were injured when the PAT activists set a police station on fire. Scores of PAT activists were detained in Faisalabad and other parts of Punjab. One man was killed during the clashes. Meanwhile, the Punjab government has requested the Interior Ministry to deploy Rangers in Lahore from August 10 till August 14 to ensure security in the provincial capital. Five companies of Rangers will be posted at important buildings, including Governor’s House, during this time.
Long queues of containers impounded by the Lahore police were seen parked on various entry and exit points of the city and on various roads leading to Minhajul Quran Secretariat, Babu Sabu Interchange, Suggian Bridge, Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, Model Town, Faisal Town, Akbar Chowk, Jinnah Hospital, Barkat Market, Cooper Road, Shalimar Link Road, Mughalpura Chowk, Thokar Niaz Baig, Yateem Khana Chowk, Niazi Interchange near Azadi Chowk, Sharah Aiwan-e-Tijarat Road. Qadri’s name is likely to be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) because of a case registered against him for inciting people to violence.
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