KARACHI/LAHORE/RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD: Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) Monday staged demonstrations in different parts of the country to protest the arrest of its chief Saad Hussain Rizvi choking the smooth flow of traffic and inconveniencing the public.
Saad was arrested Monday afternoon when several vehicles of Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and Elite Police intercepted his car a few kilometers from where he had led the funeral prayers of a noted trader leader.
CTD officials took Saad and one of his associates into their custody and took them to an unknown place. As soon as the news of Saad’s arrest broke out, TLP workers chanting slogans and holding placards came out on the major arteries in Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lalamusa, etc causing serious trouble to the commuters. A TLP spokesman condemned the government for arresting Saad Rizvi without charges while it was engaged with the TLP to postpone the sit-in.
KARACHI: In Karachi, II Chundrigar Road, MA Jinnah Road and their surrounding areas, including the road connecting Tower to the Governor House, was packed with vehicles due to the protest.
Orangi Town number 4, Baldia number 4, Hub River Road, Liaquatabad and Korangi were some of the other areas where long queues of vehicles could be seen on roads. Similarly, citizens in Hyderabad's Latifabad area faced a massive traffic jam.
Rawalpindi: Rawalpindi witnessed the worst traffic jam on the major arteries forcing the motorists to make detours to reach their destinations. The TLP activists blocked Murree Road at Liaquat Bagh and then moved to different areas of Rawalpindi and Islamabad creating a gridlock.
Though the traffic police had made a diversion plan, people suffered a lot. Traffic on Saddar-Murree Road was diverted towards Kutchery Chowk from Marir Chowk. Raja Bazaar-Murree Road traffic was diverted from DAV College Chowk and Akbar International Hotel and vehicles coming from Committee Chowk (underpass and main junction) were diverted towards Dhoke Khabba.
Faizabad, Kashmir Highway, Islamabad Expressway and Bhara Kahu Road were also blocked. In a video message, TLP Naib Amir Syed Zaheerul Hassan said the government had "completely deviated from" the agreement it had reached with the TLP regarding Namoos-i-Risalat (Peace Be Upon Him).
“It has challenged the honour of more than one and a half billion Muslims. Now all Muslim rulers are united in their honour and faith,” he added. The other leaders of the party delivered speeches at Faizabad and said their struggle would continue till enforcement of Islamic laws in the country.
They said the government had failed to deliver and was wrongly using the name of the state of Madina. They said every Muslim was ready to sacrifice his life for the dignity of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). The TLP workers also pelted stones at the cars at Committee Chowk forcing travelers to stop. They also climbed atop the Liaquat Bagh metro bus station.
LAHORE: In Lahore, angry protesters — comprising largely of TLP workers — blocked all the major roads. The police fired teargas and resorted to baton-charge to disperse the protestors, who in retaliation pelted stones at the police and set fire to old tires on major intersections.
There was no statement from the government to explain reasons behind the sudden arrest of Saad Rizvi. Rizvi was taken into custody despite that Prime Minister Imran Khan had formed a negotiating committee led by Federal Religious Affairs Minister Pir Noorul Haq Qadri to discuss and convince the TLP leadership to postpone their April 20 deadline for waging a long march and staging a sit-in in Islamabad.
Saad Rizvi had announced a sit-in on April 20, expressing disappointment over the government’s failure to implement the agreement.
The TLP wants that Pakistan should sever its diplomatic relations with France and expel its ambassador over repeated publication of state-patronized blasphemous caricatures.
FAISALABAD: Traffic remained jammed in Jaranwala, Samundari, Chak Jhumra, among other towns.
LALAMUSA: In Lalamusa, TLP office-bearers blocked GT Road from both sides in the afternoon jamming the traffic. The protestors chanted slogans vowing to sacrifice their lives for the honor of Prophet (PBUH).
BAHAWALPUR: In Bahawalpur, hundreds of TLP activists Monday evening blocked the traffic on Sutlej Bridge, causing gridlock.
Hundreds of TLP activists also staged a protest demonstration in Bhokan Pattan Bahawalnagar blocking the traffic. Police started arresting the TLP activists in Yazman, Hasilpur, Chishtian and others areas.
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