GUJRANWALA: Saturday was another day full of violence as aggressive workers of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) resisted police officials manning pickets in parts of Punjab. Because of petrol pump closures and mass impounding of buses, roads remained deserted.
Up to 51 police officials, including a superintendent police (SP) and a DSP, were injured in a clash with PAT activists on GT Road near the Kamoki toll plaza.
As police tried to stop a PAT caravan of several buses coming from Eminabad Road, the baton-wielding activists were ready to take on police officials. Soon police had to retreat. By that time, SP Zeeshan Siddiqui, DSP Rashid Sundho, SHOs Sanaullah Dhillo and Mudassar Butt were among 51 injured policemen.
After the clash, the caravan resumed its journey to Lahore. Police continued raids on houses of PAT workers and arrested 16 in Mandi Bahauddin.
Bhera Interchange was another battlefield where violent clashes between police and PAT workers claimed the life of an Elite Police official, Muhammad Fiaz. Five policemen and as many injured PAT workers were shifted to the District Headquarters hospital. Five police vehicles were also set ablaze. An official handout said 2,000 PAT workers caused injuries to police officials and of them one died.
Dawn learnt some policemen were held hostage by PAT workers to bargain the release of their workers and the removal of containers on Motorway. Officials were later released after a brief detention. PAT workers alleged that the Elite Force official was killed in firing by his own colleagues.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif announced Rs10 million as compensation for the heirs of Fiaz. PAT workers continued dodging police pickets and blockade in Khushab. They got across the Jhelum River through boats and managed to gather at the Bhera interchange while scores of activists held a sit-in on Sargodha Khushab Road. Police officials claimed to have arrested over three dozen workers of the PAT and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
Several buses carrying wedding guests and ambulances were not allowed to get across the Jhelum river bridge.
Also, around 400 workers of PAT from Chiniot blocked Khushab Road in protest at the road blockade.
Motra police confiscated around 60 police uniforms from a property owned by PAT activist Mudasar in Bhaanokey. According to an official press release issued by Daska police, the uniforms were to be used in terror acts by the PAT.
In Daska, police arrested a traffic police constable, Abdul Razzaq, for inciting the people to participate in PAT’s protest in Lahore. Police also blocked traffic between Sialkot and Narowal at Head Marala and Marala-Ravi-Link Canal.
Late on Friday, PAT activists pelted stones on the vehicle of the DPO near Chorista Mian Khan in
Deepalpur. Constable Bashir Ahmad and Razakar Muhammad Ramzan suffered injuries in another clash at Soba Ram Pul. Police also denied that it had killed PAT worker Muhammad Younas, of Awan Otar. Police said Younus died naturally.
TOBA TEK SINGH:
The Gojra city police registered a case against 44 PAT activists under the terrorism act for allegedly attacking police and injuring six policemen in Chak 366-JB. Police seized some 200 gas masks from the village.
The fresh crackdown went in vain as no PAT worker was arrested on Saturday. Because of road blockade, people suffered and several patients could not reach the Nishtar Hospital from Muzaffargarh because of containers placed at Sherhah Bridge on the River Chenab.
Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2014