–Party chief Khadim Rizvi says won’t let govt function if ‘US is appeased’ by releasing Aasiya
–Commuters decry traffic gridlocks amid Labbaik’s protest
LAHORE: Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) on Friday blocked the Mall Road at Faisal Chowk to protest against the possible release of Aasiya Bibi by the Supreme Court (SC), after the decision on Aasiya’s appeal against death sentence was reserved by a bench of the top court earlier this week.
The TLP rally, led by firebrand cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi, was attended by hundreds of his supporters, who paraded across the city to finally gather on The Mall. The protesters carried placards and banners inscribed with slogans demanding Aasiya’s execution.
Addressing the rally, TLP chief Khadim Rizvi warned the judges, government and local as well as international Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) of “dire” consequences if Aasiya was set free. He also threatened Saiful Malook, the lawyer representing Aasiya Bibi in court.
“We will hold massive protests and not let the government function if it releases Aasiya to appease the United States (US),” said Rizvi.
He said that they were a political force and would make their all-out efforts to bar Aasiya’s release. Rizvi also claimed that simultaneous protest rallies were being held at 176 points across the country and said the organisation would soon announce its future line of action.
It merits a mention here that Section 144 has been imposed on Mall Road and the TLP protest demonstration was held in its violation.
Police booked some 150 people of opposition parties, including MNA Waheed Alam and MPA Mian Marghoob Ahmed, when they held a rally at Regal Chowk; however, the police, so far, have taken no action against the religiopolitical party or its chief.
Meanwhile, traffic gridlocks were observed on major roads of the provincial capital as a result of TLP’s protest rally.
Among the most affected thoroughfares were the Mall Road, Jail Road, Lawrence Road and other adjacent routes, where commuters could be seen waiting in long queues of vehicles with no way out of the mess.
Several motorists tried to use alternate roads and streets of the residential areas but they got trapped in traffic jams there as well.
City Traffic Police also reportedly failed to improve the situation and rid the motorists of their misery.
Minor clashes between the commuters were also witnessed during the day as many of them lost their temper in utter frustration. Many ambulances which were carrying patients also struggled to get to hospitals.