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November 4, 2018

Hundreds booked for wrecking public property

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November 4, 2018

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: The Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Fawad Chaudhry says Friday’s agreement with Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) is a temporary measure and ‘we need to come up with a permanent solution’ to such situations.

In an interview with the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) on Saturday, Fawad said the government has to take steps against extremism and such kind of violent protesters and it is committed to resolving problems. “Right now this is not a cure. This is just firefighting that we are doing. The cure is the real thing and our government is committed to it.” Chaudhry said the courts would decide whether or not to put Asia Bibi on the Exit Control List.

In a related development, the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) leaders Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Afzal Qadri were among hundreds of people booked for rioting and disrupting peace in various parts of Lahore. Police said 500 people, including Rizvi and Qadri, were booked in 11 cases. Two cases were filed against troublemakers in Islamabad for destroying property. In a statement, the interior ministry said action will be taken against elements involved in destroying properties and harming common citizens. The ministry said it is identifying such elements and action will be taken against them. The statement said religious parties have assured the government their supporters were not involved in destruction of property. The videos and CCTV footages are being analysed to identify individuals involved in vandalism and violence. The Federal Investigation Agency is also reviewing related content on the social media for the purpose. The ministry said cases were filed and arrests will also be made.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said the government has decided to take action against the miscreants, who caused massive damage to the state property during the countrywide TLP protests. “It is time to establish that calls for protest shouldn't be taken as a licence to destruction,” the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Central Media Department quoted the minister as saying. “The videos and images of the protests post-apex court’s decision will be scrutinised to identify the perpetrators who damaged the public property,” the minister asserted. “The Constitution permits peaceful protests, but under no circumstances can anyone be allowed to damage public and private property in the garb of protests,” he made it clear. During two days of protests, the minister pointed out, the property of National Highways was damaged all over the country. “Billions will now have to be spent on their repair. We will identify these miscreants and bring them to justice," he emphasised.

The minister maintained that it is commendable that the protest leadership distanced itself from those who created havoc in the garb of protests. The government reached an agreement with Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) on Friday evening, paving way for return of normality to the country following its countrywide protest against the acquittal of Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, who was sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy.

Meanwhile, a petition seeking damages for destruction of public property during protests led by the TLP was filed with the Lahore High Court on Saturday.

The petitioner, Abdullah Malik, stated that the TLP protests caused considerable damage to the government and public property. He said protection of lives and wealth of citizens of Pakistan is the first responsibility of the government and it has violated their fundamental rights by not doing so.

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