LAHORE: The Punjab Police on Thursday arrested Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali, chief of Tehreek-e-Labaik Yarasool Allah (TLY) and dozens of workers over the violation of section 144. A number of workers belonging to this religious faction staged a sit-in at Faisal Chowk (Charing Cross), Mall Road, against the detention of Jalali.
On other hand, TLY claimed that there group will start a ‘countrywide’ protest campaign if the government will not accept their demands.
Dr Jalali and other workers of TLY were gathered at the Lahore Press Club in a bid to challenge Senator Sajid Mir for manazara (argument) on anti-Ahmadi issue and were expecting Mir to arrive at the spot. The TLY workers along with their chief starting protesting against Sajid Mir when he didn’t arrive at the spot.
Senator Sajid had backed the amendment in affidavit which was part of the Election Act 2017. He issued a challenge of manazara to religious clerics opposing the amendment and called it a move in favour of Ahmadis.
Meanwhile the situation went crucial when a large number of protestors tried to enter the premises of the press club. However, despite tight security, the charged workers forcibly entered the Lahore Press Club. They manhandled the club staff as well as the senior journalists present inside. Initially, police officers negotiated with the leadership of religious cleric and tried to disperse the mob. The charged protestors were chanting slogans against Sajid Mir and government for having a soft corner for the Qadyanis.
After failing in negotiating, police arrested at least 60 workers of TLY along with their chief Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali.
Dr Jalali was shifted to Kotwali Police Station while others were detained in different police stations of Lahore.
Sources in police informed Pakistan Today that Jalali was not arrested but was detained to maintain law and order situation. They said that Jalali was offered to go out which was rejected by him.
Talking to Pakistan Today at Kotwali Police Station, Dr Jalali admitted that police offered him to go but he denied. He said that he went at press club to fulfill his commitment, saying that it was his victory that Sajid Mir was reluctant to arrive.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Punjab government on Wednesday had imposed the section 144 in the city for a period of one month. Under this section, government had banned sectarian and faith-related speeches for one month. Punjab government had deployed a large number of police personnel outside the Lahore Press Club to cope with any untoward situation.