Lahore police on high alert as TLP stages sit-in for its chief’s release

Published October 21, 2021
In this file photo, supporters of the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan party shout slogans as they block a street during a protest on April 19. — AFP/File
In this file photo, supporters of the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan party shout slogans as they block a street during a protest on April 19. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The city police were put on high alert on Wednesday after the banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) resumed protest activities on Eid Milad on Tuesday by staging a massive sit-in on Multan Road near its headquarters at Masjid Rehmatul-lil-Aalemeen.

Hundreds of activists and workers of the proscribed TLP participated in the sit-in to put pressure on the Punjab government for the release of its chief Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, a son of its late founder Khadim Rizvi.

Rizvi is detained by the Punjab government since April 12 for “maintenance of public order (MPO)”. He was initially detained for three months and then again under the Anti-Terrorist Act on July 10. A federal review board is scheduled to take up the government’s reference against him on Oct 23.

A division bench of the LHC is yet to be constituted to hear an appeal of the government against a decision of a single bench that had set aside the detention of the TLP leader. The Supreme Court had on Oct 12 suspended the operations of the single bench’s order and remanded the case for a fresh decision by a division bench.

Banned outfit to announce protest plan today

Earlier, the TLP took out a massive rally on 12th of Rabiul Awwal (Tuesday), where its senior leaders delivered fiery speeches, accusing the government of using delay tactics in releasing Saad Rizvi.

Addressing the participants, a member of TLP’s Majalis-i-Shura (central executive), Syed Afzaal Hussain Shah, made an announcement that a new series of protests would be launched.

Later, hundreds of TLP workers reached outside its headquarters in groups and blocked both sides of the busy Multan Road by staging the sit-in there.

Mr Afzaal told the charged activists that the plan for the fresh agitation would be unveiled on Thursday at 5pm.

Police diverted the traffic to alternative routes to save commuters from inconvenience.

A police officer dealing with the situation said they were waiting for the instructions from the Home Department to deal with the protesters.

Meanwhile, alerted by the situation, Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Additional IG Ghulam Mahmood Dogar called a meeting of senior officers, and after reviewing the issue, devised a security plan to avoid any untoward incident as the banned outfit had a history of violent protests, also attacking police.

Lahore Operations DIG Sohail Chaudhry, senior superintendents (SSPs) and superintendents of police (SPs) of both investigation and operation wings and other officers concerned attended the meeting.

A spokesperson for the Lahore police said on Monday the CCPO had issued directions to the police to remain on a high alert and that no one would be allowed to disturb the peace of the city. He said Lahore police would ensure safety and security of the citizens at all cost.

The CCPO also evaluated the performance of all the units of Lahore police and directed the officers to continue holding open courts in different areas of the city on a regular basis to listen to the problems of the citizens.

He ordered them to improve the role of the peace committees at various levels by increasing the representation of all sects and religions so as to make them more effective for maintenance of peace and reforming society.

Mr Dogar also asked the officers to continue a crackdown on organised crimes, including drug peddling in the city, especially around educational institutions.

The instructions were also issued to the officers of investigation wing to improve challans ratio of the cases to ensure conviction of criminals.

He directed the officers to intensify combing and intelligence-based search and sweep operations in the areas around sensitive establishments to nab criminals, proclaimed offenders and court absconders.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2021

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