EIGHT MURDERS IN THE NAME OF LAW

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  • Eight supporters of Dr Tahirul Qadri, including two women killed, over 80 injured after heavy contingents of Lahore police opened fire on protesters during ‘anti-encroachment drive’ at Minhajul Quran Secretariat in Lahore’s Faisal Town
  • Police claim Minhaj supporters opened fire first, forcing them to retaliate with baton charge and firing
  • LHC appoints Justice Baqir for judicial enquiry into incident, Shahbaz Sharif suspends three senior police officials
  • PAT and TMQ workers stage protests, sit-ins across the country

 

LAHORE

NADEEM SYED

In an unashamed murder of professional integrity, the Lahore Police encroached upon the lives of workers of Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) at Minhaj Secretariat in Faisal Town, Lahore as they rammed the vicinity in a bid to “rid the area of security barricades” placed outside the secretariat, resulting in the deaths of eight people and injuries to over 90 others.

The police found stiff resistance from the Minhajul Quran University students and PAT workers when it turned up at Minhajul Quran headquarters – also the residence of PAT and TMQ chief Dr Tahirul Qadri – with large contingents and machinery to allegedly remove the barriers set up around the premises.

According to some eye-witnesses and local residents, it all started at 1:30am Tuesday when the police reached the spot with cranes and bulldozers and turned the entire vicinity, including the Civic Centre into a veritable battleground.

 

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The ‘protectors of the law’ used tear gas and resorted to baton charge and aerial firing to break the resistance from the crowd not ready to let police clear the area of barriers.

However, the damage was not done to the extent seen later.

After a brief lull, the operation started again at 5am Tuesday with added contingents of police from 12 police stations of the city.

“It was when the police opened fire at the PAT and TMQ activists when most deaths and injuries took place. We lost eight workers, including two women, while over 80 people got seriously injured,” said a PAT official, Altaf Hussain. “Over 250 PAT workers are missing. Parents are approaching us with complaints of missing loved ones,” he further disclosed.

Straight shots were reportedly fired by the police when Elite Force personnel showed up to disperse PAT supporters outside the PAT chief’s residence. However, the police claim that they were first fired at from the headquarters by unidentified people and they fired only in retaliation.

At least 90 people were injured including 40 with bullet wounds, showing the use of heavy firing during the clashes. Several injured with bullet wounds are quite critical according to insiders and doctors.

 

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According to reports, one of the deceased PAT supporters is a 16-year-old. Two women were also killed in the clash. People who lost their lives during the clash have been identified as Ghulam Rasool, Shaziya Murtaza, Tenzillah, Asim Hussain, Safder Hussain, Mohammad Iqbal and Umer Raza.

As almost 1,000 police personnel subjected the protestors to violence, the PAT and TMQ workers began to hurl stones at them which resulted in injuries to 11 police officials as well. However the police manged to force its way inside the Mihaj Secretariat despite stiff resistance.

According to PAT officials, the police fired shots as it entered the premises. “It even fired at people sitting in Ghosha-e-Darood reciting Darood Shareef,” a PAT leader said.

In the meanwhile, situation got highly tense and grim in the city especially in the vicinity of Model Town with over 1,000 PAT activists still manning the headquarters fully charged to take on the police which managed to clear most barricades except the ones set up close to the Minhaj headquarters.

PAT WORKERS PROTESTS ACROSS PROVINCE:

Later in the day, voicing their protest against the police high-handedness, the protesters blocked Metro Bus at Ravi Toll Plaza and Chungi Amar Sadhu where citizens faced problems due to a massive traffic jam. A large number of police force reached the scene to control the situation. The PAT workers also burnt tyres on roads and pelted police mobiles with stones.

Meanwhile in Rawalpindi, PAT workers thronged Faizabad, the junction of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, and staged a sit-in by blocking Rawalpindi-Islamabad Expressway. A large number of women also participated in the protest while traffic from Rawalpindi to Lahore was also blocked.

In Faisalabad, the workers rushed to District Council Chowk and blocked Millat Chowk and Narwala Chowk while angry PAT workers also held a protest outside Bahawalpur Press Club. They staged sit-ins and blocked traffic while workers in Layyah also blocked traffic at Multan-Mianwali Road.

INQUIRY COMMISSION FORMED, REPORTS SOUGHT:

Taking notice of the situation and responding to public pressure, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and sought a report of the incident while on the government’s application, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has tasked Justice Ali Baqir Najfi as a one-man commission to probe the incident.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif late on Tuesday night made Capital City Police Officer Chaudhry Shafiq Gujjar, DIG Operations Rana Abdul Jabbar and SP Model Town Tariq Aziz as officers on special duty.

FIR LODGED AGAINST PAT WORKERS:

Moreover, in a “strange display of sympathy” for the victims at Model Town, the Punjab government lodged a first information report (FIR) against PAT workers over the incident.

The FIR has been lodged in Faisal Town Police Station with the State being the complainant in the case. Office bearers of PAT, TMQ and unidentified people have been nominated in the FIR filed on charges of Anti-Terrorist Act, interference in state affairs and creating chaos.

Meanwhile, the police also claimed to have recovered weapons from the possession of PAT workers who clashed with law-enforcers.

“We have recovered automatic weapons from PAT activists. The armed men opened direct fire on policemen,” Lahore CCPO Shafeeq Gujar had told a press conference earlier in the day. He said five people were killed in the clash, adding that 53 PAT workers have been arrested.

 

 

WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY RANA HAIDER

3 COMMENTS

  1. Those who voted for the corrupt govt are equally responsible for these innocent people's lives. This is an open Ghunda Gardi by the Punjab govt

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