Punjab govt mulling options to stop protests
LAHORE: Workers of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) clashed with police in Lahore overnight injuring three personnel.
The clashes erupted in Faisal Chowk area where infuriated activists of Dr. Tahirul Qadri’s PAT threw stones at police prompting the law-enforcers to fire teargas shells.
Three policemen were reported injured in the standoff.
In order to prevent protests on August 10, the day PAT will observe as Day of Martyrs, the authorities have sealed major roads leading to the party secretariat and residence of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri in Model Town.
The PAT leadership has calling upon the workers to force their way ahead despite being held back by police at heavily guarded pickets.
Police have rounded up hundreds of PAT workers and local leaders in province-wide crackdown.
Moreover, large vehicles have been interdicted from entering the city. Pickets have been erected on Multan Road, where dozens of buses were nixed from entering Lahore.
The PAT leader warned the responsibility would rest with the government and Punjab police, in case a clash occurred after the workers were debarred from entering the city.
Meanwhile, Punjab Law Minister Rana Mashood Friday said that the provincial government is considering a host of administrative measures in Lahore including imposition of section 144 which forbids assembly of people ahead of anti-government protests.
The provincial law minister said measures like a ban on pillion riding, closure of petrol stations and suspension of cellular phone services are also on the cards.
According to the sources, the Punjab government has called Rangers in the provincial capital for security purpose on “Day of martyred” to be observed by Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and ‘Azadi March’ to be held by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The sources said that the Rangers would remain deployed from August 10 to 14. More contingent of the Rangers would be called out if needed, they added.