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Pakistanis protest without major showdown with police
Publication Date : 15-08-2014
The overall law and order situation during the Azadi and Inqilab marches by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Awami Tehreek, respectively, remained calm on Thursday except an isolated incident which left four policemen injured.
The political temperatures relatively cooled down around 2pm when police started removing hurdles after the provincial government allowed PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri and his followers to go on with their march to Islamabad.
Earlier in the day, unprecedented police deployment and hurdles were witnessed in and around Model Town to prevent PAT leadership and its thousands of activists from launching their march.
Areas of Model Town, Faisal Town, and Garden Town remained completely sealed till Thursday noon along with suspension of cell phone services.
However, thousands of PAT activists led by Dr Qadri later left for Islamabad through D-Block Model Town after police removed containers from there. The Qadri’s procession then moved on to Ferozpure Road.
Even after the PAT rally’s departure, police remained present at all barricades till Thursday evening. They also removed some containers, barriers and barbed wires from different streets and arteries.
Deputy inspector-general (DIG) Dr Haider Ashraf told Dawn that a group of unidentified PAT activists allegedly armed with clubs and sticks captured four on-duty constables at Marian Chowk and subjected them to severe torture around 5pm.
He said ambulances sent the injured policemen to the Lahore general hospital where constable Ghulam Murtaza was stated to be in critical condition as he suffered internal head injury. His other injured colleagues were identified as Iftikhar, Qasim and Zaheer Afzal.
He said 50 per cent of the police deployment and containers placed in and around Model Town had been removed. Only nominal deployment would be in place around Minhajul Quran secretariat, he added.
The DIG claimed police escort was also provided for security of PAT rally as soon as it reached Ferozpure Road.
A visit to Model Town and its adjacent localities showed that policemen remained alert with prison vans, water cannons, tear-gas, sticks and shields to counter PAT activists untill the government allowed the march to proceed.