RAWALPINDI - Bloody clashes erupted between police and PAT supporters outside the airport following the diversion of a flight of Emirates Airline (EK-612) with Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri aboard from Islamabad to Lahore by Civil Aviation Authority apparently on the orders of federal government.
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri arrived Pakistan from Canada via London and Dubai to lead a rally to bring revolution against the sitting regime. However, the control tower and CAA did not allow the plane to land at the Islamabad Airport and diverted it to Lahore. In reaction, the PAT workers including women staged a sit in outside airport.
A large number of workers of PAT tried to enter the airport to receive their leader but police came into action and used force to thwart their attempts to get inside the airport.
The police fired tear gas shells and resorted to aerial firing to disperse the charged workers but they could not be controlled and pounced upon police cops with iron rods and wooden sticks. The workers also smashed windows of vehicles and containers.
As a result, more than 80 police cops sustained serious injuries who were later shifted to hospitals in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Many PAT workers also got injured while fighting with police. The condition of two police men was stated to be very critical.
According to details, the closer areas of the airport turned into a battlefield when thousands of PAT workers tried to breach the security zone and to break the barricades placed by police in several points in a bid to go inside the airport. The police resorted baton charge and fired tear shells to disperse the mob.
This made the mob more violent as they attacked police cops beating them with iron rods and wooden sticks. The police cops could not face such a powerful attack on the part of PAT workers.
Several vehicles and containers parked inside or outside the airport were also pelted with stones and rods by PAT workers.
Earlier, clashes also broke out between police and PAT workers Monday morning at 3:30am after the latter asked the former to remove barriers placed to block the Airport Road near Koral Chowk. At least 250 workers of PAT including women managed to reach the Mall Road by breaking police barricades Monday night. Mostly came from Faisalabad and Gujranwala.
The PAT workers started removing the containers to clear the road led the police to baton charge and fire tear gas shells. However, the PAT supporters succeeded to break the security cordon and started marching towards the airport.
According to AHs sources, Rescue 1122 brought 47 injured to hospitals, of them 37 were policemen and 10 civilians, (PAT supporters) in Rawalpindi. Another source revealed that 27 injured cops were lying on beds in DHQ while 8 in BBH including 3 cops and 5 civilians. The condition of two police cops SI Rab Nawaz and Constable Muhammad Nisar was stated to be critical.
Regional Police Officer (RPO) Umar Akhtar Hayyat Lalayka and City Police Officer (CPO) Hamayun Bashir Tarar, who were not present during the entire episode, did not respond to the several phone calls made by this scribe to get their comments.