Punjab IGP says won’t bow to TLP’s violenceArchive
LAHORE: Inspector General of Punjab Police (IGP) Rao Sardar Ali on Wednesday called the situation alarming, saying it was a matter of serious concern that the violent protesters of the banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan were armed with weapons and opened straight fire on police.
“The TLP is a proscribed organisation and its armed men fired straight shots at police besides carrying out violent attacks,” he said while addressing a press conference.
Consequently, four officials were martyred and 263 injured, he said, adding the same group had earlier martyred three personnel and injured 741 others in clashes in Lahore.
“A banned organisation is dictating the government to devise the country’s foreign policy as per its (TLP) wishes forgetting that it was the sole domain of state authorities,” the IGP said.
He said the TLP was also pressurising the government to make rules of its choice, which was highly condemnable.
“We will not bow down and let the proscribed organisation play havoc,” he said, adding the Punjab police would ensure writ of the state in the larger public and national interest.
Four police officials were killed and hundreds of others injured, many of them critically, after violent clashes once again broke out between the proscribed outfit and police at Sadhoke in Kamoke tehsil of Gujranwala district.
Thousands of charged workers of the proscribed organisation turned violent after the law enforcement agencies asked them not to march ahead towards Islamabad and abide by the law. However, the protesters attacked the law enforcers, emboldened by their leaders’ provocative speeches asking the activists not to stop.
The crowd split into small groups, and chased and attacked the police personnel, inflicting a major dent on the security plan.
The violence in Sadhoke and Muridke led to deaths and injuries to hundreds of policemen and TLP workers. Police fired teargas to disperse the violent protesters who pelted the force with stones in return. The situation was reported to be tense till this report was filed late on Wednesday.
Video clips showed that the TLP workers had scaled nearby buildings, shops and residences from where they hurled petrol bombs and stones at police. In some clips they were shown to have taken shelter alongside the GT Road to continue attacks on the law enforcers.
There were reports that the TLP managed to breach the main security point at Sadhoke and reached close to the Gujranwala border.
Following the violence, the Punjab police directed the Gujranwala and Gujrat police to reinforce security while monitoring the entire situation from a helicopter above the area.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid claimed that police personnel were martyred after the TLP men used weapons and fired shots at them.
Meanwhile, a TLP spokesperson claimed two of their workers had been killed and 41 injured in clashes with police on Wednesday.
However, the group’s claim could not be confirmed independently, while the police high-ups claimed the organisation’s social media team was circulating videos of its ‘killed’ workers by editing old pictures and footage recorded during its previous violent protests.
A source said the Sheikhupura regional police officer was commanding the force near Muridke where the district police officers of Kasur, Nankana Sahib and Sheikhupura were already present.
The Lahore capital city police officer was also leading a contingent of the force dispatched from the provincial capital in addition to the personnel deployed by the Sheikhupura district.
The source said over 300 TLP men attacked the Kasur police contingent that had taken position as the first tier of security in Muridke,and injured many of them. An assistant sub-inspector, Muhammad Akbar, was killed on the spot. The mob also forced the Kasur district police officer to retreat from his position along with his force.
They later snatched a prison van carrying dozens of police personnel and drove it to the centre of the group’s sit-in where they allegedly tortured the law enforcers with clubs. The personnel were later released.
The source said that during the day-long clashes, the protesters regrouped and repeatedly clashed with the law enforcers as well as torched and damaged several official vehicles.
Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2021