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Rashid orders action against law-breakers

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Sheikh Rashid Ahmad

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has ordered action against law-breakers and necessary measures to reopen several road and entry and exit points due to countrywide protests of a religio-political party.
The interior minister chaired a high-level session to review the law and order of the country following the protests that erupted in multiple cities being organised by a religio-political party. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, and Interfaith Harmony Noor-uk-Haq Qadri, chief commissioner, inspector general (IG) of Islamabad police, whereas the Punjab chief secretary and IGP joined the session via video link.
Sheikh Rashid decided to take strict action against those creating law and order situation, as well as ordered to suspend cellular and internet services in affected areas.
It has been decided by the interior ministry to take strict action against the protesters who are violating the law and necessary steps to reopen the routes for traffic. Moreover, the cellular and internet services will be suspended in affected areas for 24 hours where the law and order situation persists.
Meanwhile, major sit-ins by a religious party which severely disrupted traffic and had thousands of people stranded for hours a day earlier continued on Tuesday. The protests, however, remained limited to certain areas.
The protesters clashed with police in Karachi and set ablaze several vehicles after law enforcement agencies launched a crackdown and dispersed protesters from Star Gate to allow the flow of traffic to return to normal.
As per details, a clash between the police and protesters was reported near the Star Gate area of Karachi. The protesters burnt several motorcycles, cars. Clash also erupted at Baldia Town No 4 between police and protesters. As a result, one person identified as Tariq died.
Police said that the citizen was killed due to the firing of protesters. A police constable was also beaten to death during a clash in the Shahdara area of Lahore, according to Lahore police spokesperson Rana Arif. Three persons were reportedly killed and more than 100 supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) arrested as the right-wing party’s protest entered the second day after the arrest of its chief Sahibzada Saad Hussain Rizvi a day earlier.
The deaths occurred in the Faizpur Interchange area of Lahore. A police constable was also killed by protesters in Lahore who was deployed at Gowalmandi police station. At least 40 other police officials have been injured in clashes with the protesters.
Amid sporadic violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement agencies, a significant number of the country’s major arteries remained blocked on Tuesday. The blockades have paralysed business in almost all major cities.
In a statement, the spokesperson for the party, Tayyab Rizvi, said the protests will not be called off till the “French ambassador is deported”. He added that more party workers are arriving at areas from where other supporters were earlier arrested by law enforcement officials.
An important meeting of Punjab’s Provincial Committee on Home Affairs was also held under the chairmanship of Law Minister Raja Basharat. The meeting also ordered the deployment of Rangers along with police at 16 sensitive locations of the provincial capital.
It was decided in the meeting that whoever takes the law into his hands will be arrested immediately and a case will be registered against him. The deployment of the Pakistan Army was also discussed during the meeting.
The paramilitary troops have also been deployed in Islamabad for the security of the Red Zone, diplomatic enclave and all-important government buildings in the federal capital. As the protests continued, the federal government also deployed the paramilitary Rangers at Islamabad’s Faizabad Bridge, IJP Road and Dhokri Chowk.
In Islamabad, Murree Road is closed to all types of traffic and Bara Kahu is also blocked as the protesters have barricaded it with trucks.
In Karachi, traffic flow remained suspended due to sit-ins as well. According to the traffic police spokesperson, the protesters have staged a sit-in at Orangi No. 5, Baldia Hub River Road, Korangi No. 2. The traffic police have requested the citizens to take an alternative route.
In Lahore, the areas of Lahore Ring Road, Droghawala Chowk, Karol Ghati and Bhatta Chowk. Similarly, Shanghai Bridge, Ferozepur Road, Battery Stop, Yateem Khana and Imamia Colony Phatak are closed due to protests. Motorways were reopened at 5:00am and normal traffic flow resumed.
At least five policemen, including DSP City, were injured in clashes between protesters and police on Monday night. – TLTP