- Three minors die, Lahore comes to a standstill as PTI workers block major roads, confront people for not ‘cooperating’
- Imran Khan asks govt to form judicial commission and save country from more protests or face ‘Plan D’
As many as three people died while incidents of eve teasing and clashes with commuters and traders were reported as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers shut down all major roads of Lahore on Monday in the latest round of cricketer-turned politician’s anti-rigging protests against the government.
Three minors died in the ambulances as they could not reach the hospitals due to the road blockades.
The first incident occurred at Ferozwala Road where a 15-year-old boy died in an ambulance stuck in traffic jam caused by the PTI protesters. The boy’s parents requested PTI workers but they did not allow the ambulance to pass through.
A five-year-old boy Amanat also died in a similar situation while a 17-day old infant, Sidra Riaz, from Gujranwala, died at Shahdara after being denied access to Children’s Hospital. The victims’ parents have decided to register murder cases against PTI.
However, PTI spokesperson Shireen Mazari said that PTI is not responsible for the deaths as the ambulance was carrying a child’s body while PTI protesters did not hold back other ambulances which were on their way to hospitals.
Earlier, few hours after dawn, dozens of PTI supporters gathered at different junctions of the city s major roads and burnt tyres, forcing the suspension of public transport services.
Key locations including Mall Road, Chungi Amar Sidhu, Gulberg, Liberty Chowk, Defence Morr, Yateem Khana Chowk, Bhatta Chowk and Shahdara Chowk were completely blocked by the protesters.
However, according to Lahore District Coordination Officer (DCO) Capt (r) Muhammad Usman, major commercial centres of the city remained open throughout the day.
The DCO said main business areas, including Moon Market Allama Iqbal Town, Ichhra Bazaar, Moon Market Gulshan Ravi, Main Market Gulberg, Mansoorah Bazaar, Shoe Market, markets in DHA H and Y blocks, R A Bazaar, PIA Colony Bazaar, Saddar, Dharampura, Islampura, Shalimar Link Road, Raiwind Bazaar, Township Market, G T Road, Chah Miran Bazaar, Shad Bagh Market, Barkat Road, McLeod Road, Karim Block Market, Iqbal Town, Kotha Pind, Beaden Road, Chamra Mandi, Shah Alam Market, Cooper Road, Vegetable Market, Auto Market, Iron Market, Yateem Khana Market, Moti Bazaar Market, Circular Road, Akbari Market, Kashmiri Bazaar and other markets remained open.
Usman added that some shops at MM Alam Road, Liberty Market and Anarkali were found closed. He said the PTI closed the city at 26 points instead of 18 as promised by its leadership.
However, contrary to the DCO’s claim, Pakistan Today observed complete closure of markets at Shah Alam Chowk, Ichhra, Abid Market, Temple Road, Hall Road, The Mall, Moon Market at Allama Iqbal Town, Wahdat Road among others.
Moreover, the PTI’s shutdown call also led to quite a few clashes and fights between the protesters and other residents of the city in different areas.
According to details, the PTI workers beat up a rickshaw driver at the General Post Office (GPO) Chowk while the protesters pelted the Metro buses with stones which resulted in injuries to a few passengers and damage to the busses.
An agitated motorcyclist also ran over a PTI supporter near GPO Chowk.
In lieu of the prevailing situation, the city administration suspended the Metro Bus Service in the city while the lawyers helped cooling down the brawl at the GPO Chowk.
Separately, the PTI workers tried to close down the shops in Shah Alam Market earlier in the day and upon resistance, the situation intensified. The protesters beat up a shopkeeper and a motorcyclist.
Moreover, friction was witnessed between the citizens and PTI workers at Bhaati Chowk and Thokar Niaz Baig.
On various occasions, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers raised slogans in favour of the prime minister upon which the PTI protesters became aggressive, however, the police refrained workers of both the parties from coming face-to-face.
The planned closure of Lahore, dubbed as Plan C, is a continuation of PTI Chairman Imran Khan`s push to pressure the government into carrying out an inquiry into alleged rigging in the May 2013 general elections.
‘FORM A COMMISSION AND THIS CAN STOP’:
After a long day of blockades and clashes, PTI chief Imran Khan addressed his supporters at the Charring Cross.
Addressing a charged up crowd there, Khan asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to form the judicial commission to kick off investigations of alleged rigging of Elections 2013. He said if he was denied justice, he will launch “Plan-D”.
“The greatest fraud of the history of Pakistan took place in Elections 2013 and the entire nation now wants its audit. We organised the world’s longest sit-in for justice but we did not get it, the other way left was only protest and rallies. The government forced us to take the route of protest to save this country. We want to see transparent election in this country which never happened after 1970,” he said, adding that if the government did not want to see them on the roads, they should reach the dialogue table.
“It will take only 48 hours to make judicial commission. We want to throw away not only Nawaz Sharif but all this corrupt system,” said Khan.
The PTI chairman said forming a commission is the only way out for the government and if the prime minister opts for any other way, he will not be able to govern the country.
Moreover, Khan thanked the people of Lahore for coming out and supporting PTI. He also thanked journalists but criticised Mir Shakeelur Rehman and said he should not act like “PML-N’s media cell”.
Khan also demanded the government to arrest Rana Sanaullah for the alleged killing of PTI worker, Haq Nawaz.