- Protesters of Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah allege police personnel desecrated holy Quran, mosques in a raid on Peer Khadim Rizvi’s residence
Both motorists and pedestrians faced immense hardships when the Mall Road was paralysed due to a sit-in by protesting activists and leaders of the Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah in front of the Punjab Assembly on Saturday.
Charged protestors belonging to the Barelvi sect assembled at Faisal Chowk (Charing Cross) under the leadership of Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali, the chairman of the Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, to stage a demonstration against what they called “desecration of the holy Quran and a mosque” by a police team during a raid on the residence of Peer Khadim Hussain Rizvi, a senior member of the Tehreek.
The protesters, who were carrying banners, flags and were chanting slogans against the government, alleged that around two dozen police personnel raided Peer Khadim Rizvi’s residence on Multan Road adjacent to Rahmatul-lil-Alameen mosque and Abuzar Ghafari madrassa where they desecrated the holy Quran and mosques.
It may be mentioned that the Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah was formed after the assassination of Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.
Addressing the protestors, Tehreek’s chief Ashraf Asif Jalali said the government had failed to fulfill its promises made during the sit-in staged over the killing of Mumtaz Qadri in D-Chowk Islamabad.
He alleged that the government was involved in promoting un-Islamic trends in the country and the solution to all problems facing the country was in imposition of Shariah.
Jalali also accused the government of victimising members of the Tehreek, saying these tactics would not push them away from their mission.
Other speakers also grilled the government in their addresses and said they were ready to face any hurdle in their mission. They vowed to continue their sit-in until their demands were met.
During the sit-in, Charing Cross was blocked for every type of traffic which added to the problems of the citizens. Many ambulances were seen struck in a sever traffic mess.
Before Ramzan, frequent protests at Charing Cross had been a permanent pain in the neck for commuters and traders of markets at The Mall despite the imposition of Section 144.
Section 144 bars holding of protest rallies and political gatherings in the area but the district administration and Lahore Police are clearly helpless in implementing the Lahore High Court’s decision in this regard.
In recent protests, electronic media was absent from coverage which was due to a letter of District Coordination Officer Capt (r) Usman in which he asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to bar electronic media from giving airtime to the protests. He stated in the letter that protests could only be discouraged if they were not covered by electronic media.
Mall Road Traders’ Association President Sohail Butt had told Pakistan Today that they were unable to bear the situation anymore, and had decided to stop protests on The Mall on their own. He had said that more than 3,000 shops and business points were situated at Mall Road which were providing livelihood to more than 5,000 families.