29th October 2021
The federal government on Thursday strongly reiterated its stance that it will not hold negotiations with the banned Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) while thousands of the party’s protesting miscreants marched into Gujranwala city, strengthening an air of chaos and confusion.
Police and Ranger personnel – who have been deployed across Punjab for the next 2 weeks – braced themselves to try and stop the protestors as they reached the Chenab River Bridge at Wazirabad in a bid to stop them from reaching the federal capital after the government rejected TLP’s top demand of expelling the French ambassador from the country.
“The government has clarified that there can be no negotiations with the TLP until their activists clear the roads and hand over the suspects who have martyred the four police officials,” said an angry Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary. He also urged the people to distance themselves from the TLP protest and return to their homes. “Don’t become part of the TLP’s terrorism,” he cautioned.
In view of the situation arising from the the illegal activities of the banned TLP, Prime Minister Imran Khan convened a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) in Islamabad to be held on Friday, said Fawad Chaudhry said. “Other issues related to national security will also be considered in the high-level meeting.”
Situation in Gujranwala
As the TLP activists stormed Gujranwala city, the district administration ordered the closure of all markets and commercial buildings on the Grand Trunk Road in the city. Schools and offices remained shut around areas of the TLP march for the last two days. Internet and cell phone services also remained suspended in the city.
The TLP demonstrators have blocked the GT Road in Gujranwala district since Wednesday, causing hardship to residents and commuters, as well as creating an air of uncertainity and fear.
Police and Punjab Rangers personnel plan to stop the march with blockades on the Chenab river bridge at Wazirabad.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Gujranwala Zulfiqar Ahmed Ghuman and Regional Police Officer Rao Abdul Karim visited the DHQ Hospital to inquire after police personnel injured in clashes with the TLP activists.
According to police, 19 personnel were being treated for injuries at the DHQ Hospital while 20 others were being treated at Kamoke hospital. The commissioner and the RPO separately gave Rs 50,000 in cash to each injured personnel.
Another policeman succumbed to injuries from clashes with the TLP, Punjab Chief Minister’s Focal Person for Digital Media Azhar Mashwani said. The policeman, identified as Ghulam Rasool, was posted in Kasur. “He was injured in #TLPTerrorism on 27th October and was under treatment in THQ Hospital Muridke,” Mashwani said in a tweet.
Govt will restore peace at all costs: Buzdar
In a high-level meeting with offcials, Punjab Chief Minister expressed his government’s resolve to establish peace in the province. “I apologise for the inconvenience caused to the people by the roadblocks. The protection of the lives and property of the people is the prime responsibility of the State,” Buzdar said.
Train service to Rawalpindi suspended
On Friday, the Pakistan Railways suspended train service between Lahore and Rawalpindi. The Subak Kharam, Islamabad Express and Rawal Express trains were suspended for both inbound and outbound services.
The Peshawar-Quetta Jaffar Express will also be suspended for the Peshawar-Lahore leg today, while the Green Line will remain suspended between Lahore and Rawalpindi. All other trains will function according to their schedule and route, a PR spokesperson said.
Opposition slam government over TLP fiasco
The opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party slammed the government’s conflicting policies towards the banned party.
“Our prayers & thoughts are with the families of the 4 brave policemen who have been martyred in the recent clashes with TLP. The govt’s “action plan” was containers to block the roads, or worse,for ministers to give bizarrely clashing statements.Where is the National Action Plan?” PPP senator Sherry Rehman said.
“Federal Ministers are giving contradcitory statements on the prevailing situation. One of them said that PM was unaware of 2020 Agreement with TLP. There is a sheer chaos & lack of leadership & the government machinery is totally clueless. This is IK’s way of governing Pakistan!!” PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said.
On Friday, the TLP leadership accused ministers of lying in order to launch an operation against them. The TLP called for the removal of the ministers for deceiving the nation. Earlier, the TLP leadership also denied officials’ statement that TLP workers had used weapons during the clashes.