Commuters hassled as TLYR sit-in enters second day

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LAHORE: With the sit-in of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) continuing to add to the provincial capital’s traffic mess on the second day, the commuters have been left distressed.

Hundreds of disciples of the firebrand cleric, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, gathered outside the Data Darbar shrine, Bhatti Chowk, on Monday demanding the implementation of the Islamabad agreement. Last year, TLYRA chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi laid siege to the federal capital protesting against an amendment in the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat clause – explained by the government as a ‘clerical’ error. The demonstration ended after a negotiation document was signed between the government and the protesters, which placed the issue to rest.

The deal struck between the protesters and the government involved the resignation and removal of the law minister who proposed the changes, release of all TLYR workers and supporters who were arrested during the Faizabad crackdown, and all cases pending against the TLYR to be disposed of.

However, Rizvi has now launched another protest movement on the same issue – the finality of prophethood – days after his arrest warrants were issued by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) of Islamabad and he was declared as a proclaimed offender in the Faizabad sit-in case after failing to appear before the court despite repeated summons.

The protesters are demanding the implementation of the Islamabad agreement that includes the issuance of the Raja Zafarul Haq report and quashing of all the cases launched against the leadership of TLYR in different police stations of the federal capital. Moreover, extremist cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi has given a deadline until Wednesday evening (today) to the government for the implementation of the Islamabad agreement; otherwise, he has threatened to launch country-wide protests.

On Tuesday, hundreds of commuters suffered as the traffic remained suspended from the Azadi Interchange to Katcheri Chowk – one of the busiest thoroughfares of the city – due to the protest camps of the TLYR.

Muhammad Asghar, a citizen who exchanged heated arguments with the activists of the TLYR, sharing his views with Pakistan Today said that Islam taught the lesson of peace but the “so-called religious scholars” were creating difficulties for the people by staging sit-ins and even ambulances carrying patients were not allowed to cross the site of the protest.

“Our religion is all about peace but these people are sowing seeds of hatred among the masses by using a religious pulpit,” he said dejectedly.

It is worth mentioning here that the activists of TLYR spent the whole night in their camps while they were joined by hundreds of students from other religious seminaries during the night.

Khadija Bibi, a pedestrian outside the Bhatti Gate, told this scribe that it was highly immoral to block roads and claim to fight for a noble cause. “They should behave politely with aged persons especially with women but these volunteers deputed by the TLYR are very rude and creating difficulties for the commuters,” she said.

Sahibzada Pir Ijaz Ashrafi, the spokesperson of the TLYR, told Pakistan Today that no one had pointed out towards the closure of roads during the cricket matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), but his party was being criticised for its peaceful protest that was for a “noble cause”. “The government is responsible for this protest as it didn’t implement the Islamabad agreement and forced us to come out on the roads once again,” Ashrafi said.

Meanwhile, Lahore Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Rai Ijaz Ahmed, who held successful negotiations with the transport owners protesting at the Ring Road on Monday, told this correspondent that he along with other officials was in contact with the TLYR leadership and they were trying to convince them to call off their sit-in.

“We are sure that we will convince them,” the CTO said and added that the traffic was being diverted to the Railway Station from the Azadi Interchange and commuters could also use Mohni Road to cross Katchehri Chowk.

3 COMMENTS

  1. These people are thugs and never been followers of the prophet saw..The government need to deal with these hoodlums sternly

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