Public property lost during anti-encroachment drive in Township

  • LDA launches anti-encroachment drive in Township, allegedly tears down hoarding bearing ‘darood’
  • Protestors pelt stones at LDA officials, torch four trucks after ‘peaceful protest’ 

Protestors burnt down four trucks in Township when Lahore Development Authority (LDA) launched an anti-encroachment operation on Friday.

The locals turned violent when LDA officials continued clearing the encroachments in the area. The local businessmen and dwellers pelted stones at the anti-encroachment personnel and district administration officials. Rescue and police later reached the spot and took control of the area.

According to eyewitnesses, the locals turned violent when the anti-encroachment drive officials removed a hoarding bearing holy verses.

An eyewitness, Arsalan Qureshi, told Pakistan Today, “LDA officials did not serve a notice prior to their operation and they disgracefully tore down a hoarding which was bearing darood pak [salutations to the Prophet (PBUH)].”

He said that LDA’s “violent” campaign infuriated the traders and the locals who pelted stones at the officials and burnt down vehicles.

A local trader, on anonymity told Pakistan Today that LDA and district administration officials took bribe to allow them to extend their shops.

“They [anti-encroachment officials] come asking for money whenever they want throughout the year. And when they need to register their performance with their high-ups they destroy our shops,” he said.

Moreover, reports say that fire caused a car’s cylinder to burst which further deteriorated the situation.

As protestors turned violent, much of public property was destroyed. While some residents had to bear the brunt of anti-encroachment officials during their drive, other had to suffer losses at the hands of the protestors.

Aslam Rafique, a local, while talking to Pakistan Today claimed that the men who burnt shops were not traders.

“I dropped my daughter home and rushed back for joining the protest against the LDA’s operation. When I reached the scene, I saw that people who I could not identify as local traders were playing havoc with the public property and burning vehicles.”

However, the district administration has announced to continue crackdown despite all resistance.

District Officer Coordination Tariq Zaman, while addressing the media men, said that they were committed to ridding the city of encroachments. He said that they would continue with the drive, come what may.

“Such incidents are a part of the process of anti-encroachments drive. Encroachers often turn violent under such circumstances. But this does not mean that we should stop executing what is necessary,” he said.