Off limits: Lahore’s Model Town under siege

Published: August 13, 2014
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All main roads, link roads and streets leading towards Qadri’s residence and Secretariat’s surrounding
areas were sealed off in the early hours of Tuesday. PHOTO: EXPRESS/SHAHBAZ MALIK

All main roads, link roads and streets leading towards Qadri’s residence and Secretariat’s surrounding areas were sealed off in the early hours of Tuesday. PHOTO: EXPRESS/SHAHBAZ MALIK

LAHORE: The Punjab government has decided that Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri and his workers will not be allowed to leave the Central Secretariat of Mihajul Quran International for the ‘revolution march’, a senior police official said on Tuesday.

All main roads, link roads and streets leading towards Qadri’s residence and Secretariat’s surrounding areas were sealed off in the early hours of Tuesday, as an estimated 50 additional shipping containers and barbed wire were placed in the area.

At least 120 containers have been placed at main roads, including Akbar Chowk, Faisal Town roundabout, Mariyan Stop and Barkat Market and all connecting streets. On main roads, where PAT activists removed containers three days ago, the administration has reportedly quadrupled the number of containers, placing them back-to-back.

Police officials said this is to prevent any removal of the containers by party workers. Even if these containers are removed, heavy police contingents with rubber bullets and teargas shells are prepared to stop the activists from leaving the area, a police official said.

Dozens of containers were transported overnight to Peco Road, Akbar Chowk, Faisal Town, Model Town, Garden Town, Barkat Market, Jinnah Hospital, Model Town Link Road, and Muhammad Pura (Mochi Pura). The containers have blocked routes leading to Model Town and M Block, where Qadri’s residence is situated.

PAT workers have equipped themselves with sticks, gas masks, shields and swimming goggles to protect against the use of teargas. The PAT administration said gas masks would also be provided to the marchers.

Since the Model Town is under siege, PAT Punjab’s vice president Muhammad Ilyas, who suffered a cardiac arrest, died after he was not allowed to be transported to hospital, Qadri’s principal secretary GM Malik told The Express Tribune.

Shops at Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, outside Faisal Town, were forcibly shut and the route to the PM’s residence was sealed. Mobile phone services in Model Town extension, Faisal Town and Township have also been suspended.

A police official said further contingents have been called on the orders of IGP Mushtaq Sukhera from police lines in Multan, Layyah, Bhakkar and Sheikhupura.

PAT supporters undeterred

Despite the blockades, a large number of PAT supporters, including women and children, continue to arrive at the party secretariat from Karachi, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Bahawalpur, Multan, Rajanpur, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Quetta and other parts of the county.

“If the government tries to restrict Qadri sahib’s movement, it will be the last nail in the corrupt government’s coffin,” said one supporter, 25-year-old Abubakr, an IT student from Hayatabad.

“I was stopped at a number of places but in vain,” said 65-year-old Hajra Bibi, who arrived at the secretariat from Rajanpur. Muhammad Ali, a college student from Faisalabad, told The Express Tribune that he arrived via train and then on foot to reach the secretariat.

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court directed police to remove all unnecessary containers from various points in Model Town in order to ease movements of residents. The AGP said police pickets will be established at points where the containers are removed.

Justice Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah asked Advocate General Hanif Khatana and the IGP to meet with the petitioner’s lawyers and decide if the blockaded points could be opened.

After the meeting, the law officer, IGP and the petitioner said they have resolved to remove containers from Model Town J-block, H-block and Jinnah Hospital. The petition also objected to containers at Ravi Bridge. But the police said containers have not been placed here.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th,2014.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Hira
    Aug 13, 2014 - 6:38AM

    It doesn’t matter how long they can seal model town or islamabad either TUQ supporters wait for the roads to open up and immediately start marching or go out and fight with the police. If they wait the entire city will be jammed for few more days and eventually common man will resent in the later case there will be violence…………..In current scenarios Govt cannot afford any thing. The best possible scenario is let them come to capital and hope either they wont turned in large number or even if they do they cannot sit for long to pursue demand with much impact.

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  • Dominic
    Aug 13, 2014 - 8:35AM

    The Sea of Humans will remove all cntrs when the time comes as God supports the Brave. Here PAT & PTI are brave people unlike cowards like the Govt and the Killer Polices. The Revolution will be a successfull one. Tahir-ul-Qadri Sahib God bless you on your assignment and throw away these crooked Sharif Brothers out of Pakistan for good once and for all.

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  • Muneer
    Aug 13, 2014 - 8:35AM

    PMLN making mockery of the constitution,governance and democracy.

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  • Ozair
    Aug 13, 2014 - 8:41AM

    Model town has turned into Gaza………..

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  • Axcalibur
    Aug 13, 2014 - 12:57PM

    It is Gaza that has turned in to Model town!

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  • SHB
    Aug 13, 2014 - 5:35PM

    @Ozair:
    Shame on your comment. You should go and visit Gaza before you write this comment. Then you will have realty check.

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