RAWALPINDI: The sit-in protests by Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) activists against the arrest of their party chief Maulana Saad Rizvi turned violent, leaving at least 45 law enforcement personnel, including three Rangers, injured in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.
Moreover, because of the sit-in, commuters suffered hardship as a number of roads remained blockaded throughout the day.
As many as 30 people were detained during clashes with police and 23 of them were shifted to Central Jail Adiala under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance. In Islamabad, police also detained over 60 people.
The clashes with police in Rawalpindi started on Monday night and continued till Tuesday morning. As many as 42 police officials and three Rangers personnel were injured during clashes at Liaquat Bagh Chowk.
Over 40 law enforcement personnel injured in clashes, police detain more than 100 people in twin cities
DSP City Asar Ali and Station House Officer (SHO) Pirwadhai Awais Akram were among the injured. The injured were shifted to Benazir Bhutto Hospital and Holy Family Hospitals.
The protesters set old tyres and logs on fire on Liaquat Road and Murree Road, especially from Liaquat Bagh Chowk to Mareer Chowk.
Most of the business activities along Murree Road remained suspended on the second day on Tuesday.
Police remained deployed in Faizabad but the area wore a deserted look with business activities, including inter-provincial bus terminals, remaining closed throughout the day.
On the other hand, entry points to the capital at Bhara Kahu, Tarnol and Rawat remained blocked by the protesters. There were reports about scuffles between law enforcement officials and the TLP activists at these points.
Heavy contingents of police, including personnel from the Courter-Terrorism Department, Anti-Terrorism Force and Anti-Riot Unit, along with police reserves, armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and paramilitary troops were deployed at Faizabad.
Officials said police resorted to tear gas shelling on the protesters at Rawat and Tarnol to disperse them.
In the morning, over 200 protesters were present at Bhara Kahu who blocked Murree Road at Athal Chowk.
Till late in the afternoon, the number of protesters at Athal Chowk increased to over 300. The police launched an operation to clear the road and resorted to tear gas shelling and succeeded to disperse them.
However, the protesters returned after a few minutes and pelted the police with stones and again blocked Murree Road.
At the Tarnol railway crossing, over 200 protesters blocked the road.
After sunset, about 150 people also blocked roads at Alipur. The police reached there and a clash occurred during which the SHO of Shahzad Town was injured and shifted to hospital.
The police arrested about five dozen protesters from different areas, including Bhara Kahu, Tarnol and Rawat, and shifted them to Secretariat, Koral, Loi Bher, Khanna, Ramna, Golra, Sihala, Sabzi Mandi and Noon police stations.
Dhokri Chowk, Rawal Dam Chowk, Bhara Kahu, Rawat T- Cross, Tarnol, Kashmir Chowk and I.J. Principal Road remained blocked.
Police in Attock registered cases against TLP activists for causing unrest, traffic blockades and damages to public and private property.
In Fatehjang, police booked 37 nominated and over 50 unidentified persons in a case registered by SHO Hamid Kazmi.
In Hazro, SHO Mazaharul Islam registered a case against 33 nominated and over 50 unidentified persons. However, according to police, only one arrest was made.
At least 24 policemen were injured during an operation to clear G.T. Road in Dina. Police said 24 protesters were also held in Jhelum.
When contacted, DPO Jhelum Shakir Hussain Dawar said G.T. Road was still blocked in Dina. He said the road would be opened soon.
Meanwhile, a large number of people have staged a sit-in in Gujar Khan and blocked G.T. Road.
An activist of TLP died allegedly of a bullet injury in Talagang.
Chakwal Deputy Commissioner Bilal Hashim sought deployment of Rangers to avert further mishaps.
About 500 protesters gathered at Khatm-i-Nabuwat Chowk in Talagang city on the Chakwal-Mianwali Road.
The protesters started pelting police with stones early on Tuesday. Police tried to disperse the protesters by firing tear gas shells. The TLP activist who received a bullet injury in his back died in hospital.
The TLP leaders claimed that the deceased was killed by the police.
District Police Officer Mohammad Bin Ashraf said an inquiry had been ordered into the death of the activist.
He said two police personnel were also injured by the protesters. “The protesters also damaged three police vans,” the DPO said.
— Additional reporting by Amjad Iqbal, Hamid Asghar & Nabeel Anwar Dhakku
Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2021