LAHORE: They say desperation has no heights, but one rickshaw driver in Lahore took up that challenge on Friday.
Rising expenses drove a motorcycle-rickshaw driver up the pole in the Sherakot area as he climbed an electricity pylon to protest against his third consecutive challan by the police. He was later joined by dozens more people, who climbed the tower.
Electricity was turned off in the afternoon.
The driver had first arrived in the area and informed people that he had been fined three times in the last three days, adding that he could no longer afford to pay the fines. Today the police had impounded his motorcycle-rickshaw.
In protest, the driver climbed to the top of the tower with copies of the challan in his hand.
A local man later climbed the pylon to negotiate with the driver and was promised that he would come down. Instead of the first driver coming down, eight more climbed the tower to join the protest.
The crowd later swelled and police resorted to baton charging to disperse them. Once the crowd started to retaliate, the police then started aerial firing and also fired straight at some of the protestors, injuring some of them in the process.
Armed men, who were believed to be plainclothes policemen, were also seen firing at the gathered crowd from a house.
Mazhar, the first climber
The first driver to climb the tower identified himself as Mazhar. Reporters and cameramen had climbed the tower and spoken to him about the situation.
He said that the policemen would stop him every day and waste his time.
Mazhar claimed that the policemen had stopped him again today and joked with him saying that he had told them he would jump under a car yesterday, and then gave him the challan.
The driver claimed that there was no violation and the policemen just joked with him.
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