Over a dozen rounded up as PTI marks May 9 in Rawalpindi

Published May 10, 2024
Former MPA Shehryar Riaz being pushed into a police van after he was arrested from Bunni in Rawalpindi for violating Section 144 on Thursday. — White Star
Former MPA Shehryar Riaz being pushed into a police van after he was arrested from Bunni in Rawalpindi for violating Section 144 on Thursday. — White Star
  • Police say cases will be registered over violation of Section 144
  • Multiple rallies organised in garrison city in solidarity with army

RAWALPINDI: As a small number of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supporters took to the streets in Rawalpindi to mark the first anniversary of the May 9 riots triggered by the arrest of its founder Imran Khan, the police rounded over a dozen, including two local leaders, for violation of Section 144.

The protesters demanded the release of Imran Khan, who is imprisoned in Adiala jail following his conviction in multiple cases, and also chanted slogans against the PML-N government.

On Rawal Road, a group of up to 30 PTI workers led by ex-MPA Seemabia Tahir gathered at ‘Gaye (cow) Chowk’ near Shehbaz Sharif Park. The rally which originated from Amarpura hoisted a large PTI flag on the road near the park and shouted slogans in favour of their ex-chairman and against the government.

The police, which had been deployed to ensure law and order, used teargas to disperse the protesters and detained Ms Tahir, while other protesters managed to evade the police and escaped towards Sadiqabad Chowk.

Before the arrest, the police were seen trying to engage the PTI leader asking her to accompany them to the police station in a car instead of a police mobile.

She was shifted to the women’s police station. “Ma’am, come with me,” a police official was heard saying. Even though it was a minor protest, the commuters still faced problems due to traffic mess on Rawal Road.

Another rally, led by PTI leader Shaharyar Riaz was organised in the Banni area. A handful of PTI workers shouted slogans in favour of the PTI founder, demanding his release. Likewise, a handful of political workers also organised a demo in Gujar Khan for the release of the PTI founder.

A police official said they would register cases against those who violated Section 144 imposed in Punjab.

On the other hand, the police have made effective security arrangements with the deployment of more than 2,600 police personnel to ensure peace in the city.

In addition, 400 traffic police personnel were performing duties to maintain the flow of traffic.

As part of the security, 62 special pickets had been set up on the entrance and exit roads of the city, and police mobiles, as well as the dolphin force, patrolled their respective areas.

‘Solidarity with army’

In addition to the PTI, several groups, including the All Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association, organised rallies in various areas of Rawalpindi to express solidarity with the Pakistan Army and condemn the May 9 violence.

Acknowledging the sacrifices made by the armed forces in ensuring national security, the speakers lauded the efforts of the security forces in “combating terrorism and promoting stability”. They also condemned attempts by “anti-state elements to sow discord and undermine the unity of the nation”, reaffirming the unwavering support of the people for the Pakistan Army.

Furthermore, the speakers called for swift and decisive action against those responsible for the May 9 riots. They stressed the importance of holding individuals accountable for their actions to prevent similar incidents in the future and safeguard the country’s security interests.

The rallies concluded with a renewed commitment to uphold the principles of unity, integrity, and resilience, echoing the words of the Quaid-i-Azam that no force can dismantle Pakistan.

The Rawalpindi Waste Management Corporation also organised a rally in support of the Pakistan Army.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2024

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