rawalpindi/ islamabad - Tens of hundreds of violent leaders and activists of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) staged a series of protest demonstrations in twin cities against the arrest of their chief Hafiz Saad Rizvi by security forces and blocked main arteries including Athal Chowk, Murree Road and GT Road in Gujar Khan here on Monday.
The Rawalpindi police fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets at the protestors to disperse them and open roads for vehicular movement. Scores of irate protestors holding sticks and bamboos of TLP also climbed over Metro Bus Stations in Rawalpindi and started marching towards Faizabad.
Following the orders of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Qazi Jamil Ur Rehman, anti-riot force was deputed at Faizabad Flyover to keep the TLP protestors away from the locality where the protestors reportedly were planning to stage sit in.
Some protestors sustained minor injuries during shelling by police in Rawat, sources said.
Massive traffic jam occurred in twin cities including old Murree Road, Serena Chowk, Dhokri Chowk, Faizabad, Islamabad Expressway, Koral, T Chowk, Rawat, Gujar Khan, Murree Road, Liaquat Bagh, Chandni Chowk and other linking roads due to protests by TLP causing troubles to the commuters and pedestrians.
According to details, tens of thousands of TLP leaders and workers poured on roads in twin cities soon after TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi was detained by security forces in Lahore. A mob blocked GT Road at Gujar Khan by placing barricades and parking trucks in the middle of road.
The protestors also burnt tyres and chanted slogans against the government and police. They demanded earlier release of TLP chief. A heavy contingent of police led by ASP Gujar Khan Hina Naik Bakhat and SHO PS Gujar Khan Inspector Khizzar Hayat rushed to the protest site and tried to negotiate with mob. However, the police force had to move back after the protestors turned violent.
Similarly, clashes also erupted between police and TLP protestors in Rawat. Police resorted to tear gas shelling at the protestors to disperse them. However, the protestors refused to open road for traffic.
Mess of the TLP protestors on GT Road triggered a massive traffic jam.
Liquat Bagh Chowk turned into battle field after police fired tear gas shells at protestors blocking road for traffic. Activists of TLP got unconscious due to heavy shelling. In a video message, which went viral on social media, a protestor of TLP complained that police fired expired tear gas shells and rubber bullets at them. Thick black smoke was emitting from Liaquat Bagh while effecting the residents of areas.
A large number of TLP activists while holding sticks and rods climbed up Metro Bus Stations and uprooted the tiles for throwing on police force.
The situation in Islamabad got tense when mob poured in on Athal Chowk and blocked the road for traffic. Long queues of traffic could been seen on old Murree Road, Kotli Sattian and in Kashmir.
Police, following orders of IG Islamabad and SSP Operations Dr Syed Mustafa Tanveer, rushed to the site to maintain law and order situation. Traffic jam also occurred on Peshawar Road, Srinagar Highway, Motorway Chowk, Chungi Number 26, and Tarnol.
Roads were also blocked from Rawalpindi to Kharian, said a traffic police official.
Another senior police official said protests broke out at numerous places in Rawalpindi and other major areas following the arrest of Hafiz Saad Rivi in Lahore.
Similarly, the traffic police chiefs of twin cities Rai Mazhar and SSP Farrukh Rashid also deputed extra force to ease traffic flow but in vain. Diversions placed on several places by the traffic police and traffic was also diverted on alternative routes.
“We are facing brutality on part of police as expired tear gas shells and rubber bullets are being fired on us,” said Hamza Khan, a TLP activist. He said the protests would be broadened by the TLP. He said the government should release the chief of TLP immediately.
Babar Chaudhry, a citizen, was of view that the massive traffic jam paralysed normal life in the city. He said he was traveling to Mandra from Rawalpindi when got struck in massive traffic snarl in Rawat. “I am finding no way to get out of traffic rush for last two hours,” he said.
Till the filing of this report, the TLP violent activists and leaders were staging protests at various points in twin cities and blocking the roads for traffic. Bosses of police force of twin cities are on the toes to coup with the alarming situation.