GUJRAT: TLP sit-in at Wazirabad. — Dawn
GUJRAT: TLP sit-in at Wazirabad. — Dawn

GUJRAT: Following announcement of an “agreement” reached between the government and the proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), the local authorities have started preparations for removing the obstacles on the bridges of Chenab and Jhelum rivers on the GT Road as the machinery and equipment required for filling the trenches have reached there.

However, to launch the road clearance operation, the local police and administration have been waiting for the government’s instructions.

The obstacles placed on the railway bridge on the River Chenab two days ago to bar the TLP marchers from crossing it on foot were removed late on Sunday, as per the government direction, a senior administrative officer told Dawn.

He said the personnel and officers of Gujrat police had been performing the security duties for the last 13 days round the clock at the Chenab bridge, restricting the marchers to Wazirabad.

Another senior official said that executive engineer of the National Highway Authority (NHA) had also arrived at Chenab toll plaza with the machinery and technical staff to start the operation to fill the trenches dug up on both sides of the GT Road around 10 days ago. He added that an air tank with compressor to refill the air in the tyres of the heavy vehicles parked on the bridges had also been brought on the site.

Meanwhile, a march participant told Dawn that almost half of the protesters had left the sit-in venue since the agreement was announced, while those still present near Alahabad Chowk on the GT Road, had also packed up their luggage in anticipation of their return home. They were waiting for the arrival of TLP senior leadership to get informed about the details of the agreement reached with the government and the formal call to end the protest, he added.

On the other hand, police and LEAs personnel are not stopping any TLP worker leaving the sit-in venue.

An LEA official said Gujrat police had been continuing a crackdown on the local TLP leadership, workers, financiers and sympathisers since the banned religious outfit started its march from Lahore, due to which the marchers could not get any support from the party’s Gujrat chapter.

The LEAs command considers restricting of the TLP march at Wazirabad a feat as most of such convoys of religious outfits would reach Islamabad from Lahore in the past after confronting the law enforcers.

As the participants have started leaving, heaps of garbage could be seen everywhere near the sit-in venue at Wazirabad. Given the volume of the solid waste left by the marchers at the venue, the local civic authorities will have to launch a massive operation to clean the area after their departure.

Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2021

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