Banned outfit Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has been protesting for the seventh day on Thursday and resolved to continue march towards Islamabad.
The TLP activists camped near Kamoke on the GT Road last night. Business centers in the city and along the GT Road are closed and so are the shops and restaurants on the highway.
Public and private educational institutions on GT Road and its adjoining areas have been closed and internet services in Kamoke been suspended.
A trench has been dug by the government on GT Road near Chenab Bridge and containers have also been placed, while the road from Wazirabad to Sialkot has been excavated and the land route between the two cities has been cut off to block the protesters from moving forward.
Refilling of the ditches dug on the Sadhoke stretch of the road, meanwhile, could not be started.
Security has been tightened in Rawalpindi and Murree Road is completely closed to traffic, while the Rawalpindi Metrobus service is closed till further notice.
A day after a meeting of the country’s civil and military leadership, the government on Wednesday decided to crush the banned TLP by all means and resolved that army, Rangers and police would stop participants of its long march from entering the federal capital.
The decision was taken by the federal cabinet in its meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan following which Rangers were requisitioned in Punjab.
The government categorically announced that it could not meet the TLP demand of closing down the French embassy and said that there was no French ambassador in the country.
RANGERS DEPLOYED: Meanwhile, the Punjab Home Department has deployed the paramilitary force, Rangers, in eight districts of the province.
The force has been posted in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Chakwal, Gujrat and Faisalabad districts, according to insiders in the department.
The Rangers has been deployed for 60 days and Punjab Police will assist them, they added.
The step has been taken after Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad announced on Wednesday to summon Rangers in the Punjab province at the request of the provincial authorities.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the interior minister had said that the government wanted to establish peace as there was a lot of international pressure on Pakistan.
“We have decided to summon the Rangers for a period of 60 days to maintain law and order situation in the province,” Rashid had said.
“Like Karachi, Rangers have been called in Punjab under Section 4 (2) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, read with Article 147 of the Constitution of Pakistan,” he added.
COPS MARTYRED: Three more policemen were martyred while many injured when the TLP activists resorted to violence.
Since the start of the TLP protest, five policemen have been martyred and many vehicles set on fire by the protesters.
Meanwhile, according to the latest traffic alert issued by the Islamabad Traffic Police, the following major roads and avenues are completely open to traffic amid the incoming TLP protesters:
- Islamabad Expressway
- Lehtrar Road
- Peshawar Road
- Sirinagar Highway
- Jinnah Avenue
- Margallah Road
- Constitution Avenue
- Attaturk Avenue
- 7Th Avenue
- Faisal Avenue
- 9th Avenue
- Faqeer Epi Road.
However, some roads are partially closed. IJP Road is closed towards Stadium Road and towards Faizabad at the 9th Avenue signal. Alternatively, traffic is being diverted to 9th Avenue and IJP Road.
Meanwhile, Murree Road, too, is closed for both sides from the Faizul Islam stop till Rawal Dam Chowk. Alternatively, traffic from the Rawal Dam Chowk is being diverted to the Srinagar Highway, which can be further used to reach Rawalpindi via 9th Avenue and IJP Road.
Similarly, Lehtrar Road can be used to reach the Islamabad Expressway.
FOREIGN AID: Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar told a private news channel that the state tried to persuade the banned TLP through dialogue for a long time, but the group resorted to violence.
He said there was evidence that the TLP was receiving external support. The decisions taken by the government have been in consultation with military.