TLP marchers restricted to Wazirabad

Published October 31, 2021
Workers of the banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) continue their sit-in in Wazirabad on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
Workers of the banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) continue their sit-in in Wazirabad on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV

GUJRAT: The strict security measures taken by the law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) seem to have restricted the participants in the proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) march on Islamabad to Wazirabad city, where they have reached so far and been staying for the second day on Saturday.

The presence of the Rangers and police personnel at Chenab toll plaza near Gujrat and troops deployment at Palkhu drain near Wazirabad railway station, besides a strict warning by the paramilitary forces against crossing the ‘red line’ drawn by them, apparently did not let the marchers proceed further.

Meanwhile, at least 50 activists of the banned organisation have been arrested by the Rangers and police from different areas between Wazirabad and Chenab toll plaza.

An official source said the arrested TLP workers were part of an ‘advance party’ meant to examine the security arrangements in the area. Of them, 22 activists were arrested by the Rangers from Palkhu drain bridge at Wazirabad, while the remaining 28, mainly belonging to Mandi Bahauddin and Shakar Garh, Narowal, by Gujrat police near Chenab bridge, he added.

50 held ‘spying on’ LEAs personnel

According to the source, these activists had been nabbed while recording videos of the areas where troops were deployed. He said these activists had started their journey in the middle of the day from Wazirabad, along with a crane and a trailer. However, after finding the strict security arrangements made by the LEAs blocking the route, they returned the vehicles back to Wazirabad city, where the protesters were mainly encamped.

Moreover, the authorities have also dug up a big trench along the GT Road at Sara I Alamgir city, just around 200 yards away from the bridge on River Jhelum on Saturday. Earlier, on Friday this bridge was blocked by placing containers and constructing a wall right in its middle.

Trenches had also been dug up ahead of the two bridges (one of them had been abandoned by heavy traffic for decades) on the River Chenab, more than a week ago, to block the marchers’ further movement.

Sources say the TLP activists have been using mosques and seminaries in various towns along the GT Road for taking rest and going to toilet since the march left its Lahore headquarters. They say the marchers are carrying ample stocks of rice, flour and other uncooked edibles, in addition to the meals being provided to them by their sympathizers and donors from the nearby areas.

A senior administrative official told Dawn that the trucks carrying food supplies are being given entry and exit through alternate routes in Gujrat district to avoid any food shortage for the marchers.

However, the local vegetable and fruit vendors complain that the rates of such items had increased due to the closure of roads. Similarly, transport owners have also been fleecing the commuters, charging exorbitant fares on the inter-city routes for the last nine days.

Meanwhile, all petrol pumps along the old GT Road near Kathala and Gujrat bypass have been sealed by the authorities and it is being ensured that their fuel tanks were empty.

Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2021

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