LAHORE: Workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) clashed near PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s resident in Zaman Park on Monday that heralded bitter political divisions ahead of protest marches announced by opposition parties on the Independence Day on Thursday.
The clash occurred when charged PTI workers were gathering in Zaman Park and on the adjacent Canal Bank Road to welcome Imran Khan, who was to arrive there from Islamabad on Monday evening, whereas on the opposite bank, PML-N workers were returning from a protest demonstration at the Lahore Press Club after showing solidarity with their leaders and both sides came close to each other with Lahore Branch Canal dividing them.
The workers on both sides of the canal exchanged harsh words, resorted to using abusive language, chanted slogans against each other’s party and pelted each other with stones. Luckily, no casualty was reported.
Poor performance of police was also observed on the occasion as personnel of a huge contingent remained silent spectators. No police even tried to stop both groups from raising slogans against political leaders. However, after sometime, some of the police half-heartedly intervened to prevent any untoward incident from taking place.
Police sources said that the government had not issued any written orders for any action against the PTI in the provincial metropolis till the filing of this report. However, police were laying barbed wire in areas surrounding Imran’s residence but just for security purposes and not to stop workers from reaching party chairman’s residence.
The clash started when PML-N workers arrived there and started raising slogans in favour of their leaders and against PTI leaders. PML-N MPA Waheed Gul was prominent among PML-N workers and was seen waving his hands and raising slogans. PTI workers also chanted slogans while waving their party flags. Both sides exchanged harsh words and resorted to using abusive language followed by stone-pelting. However, most of the stones thrown by opponents landed in the canal that divided the both sides. Due to clash, commuters had to endure yet another worst traffic jam in the city. Vehicular traffic remained choked for many hours on Canal Bank Road, Davis Road, The Mall, Allama Iqbal Road and other areas.
Earlier, the PML-N Lahore leadership held a demonstration in front of the Lahore Press Club to show solidarity with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. PML-N Lahore General Secretary Imran Nazeer, MNA Shaista Pervaiz Malik, Chaudhry Shahbaz Ahmed, Ramzan Bhatti and other party leader were present. Speakers said that the PTI and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) were working on the Jewish agenda and that we would not let them succeed in their goals against the country.
They said that marches of both of the parties on August 14 were against the prosperity of the country. Talking to the press in Zaman Park, PTI leader Mian Aslam Iqbal said that the PML-N workers had deliberately chosen this route and stopped their rally opposite Imran Khan’s residence only to annoy and provoke PTI workers. He said that the PML-N workers led by MPA Gul chanted slogans against the PTI and used abusive language besides flinging rocks. He said that MPA Gul had played the role of Gullu Butt and that he (Gul) had not stopped his workers activists from resorting to using abusive language.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan peacefully reached his Zaman Park residence amid a caravan of around 470 vehicles after his arrival from Islamabad at the Allama Iqbal International Airport. Khan will stay in the provincial capital for four days and start Azadi March from Faisal Chowk to Islamabad at 10am on Thursday.
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