Sunday Apr 18, 2021
LAHORE: Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar's aide Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Sunday said that "miscreants" armed with petrol bombs attacked the Nawankot Police Station, taking 12 policemen hostage and leaving six injured.
Sharing a statement by the Lahore police, she said that owing to the attack, in which the attackers used petrol bombs and bottles of acid, Rangers and police personnel were trapped inside the police station.
The miscreants held the deputy superintendent of police hostage, along with 11 other policemen, and drove them to their markaz (comprising a mosque and madrassah) nearby.
Aside from attacking the police station and kidnapping officials, the miscreants also stole an oil tanker carrying 50,000 litres of petrol, she said.
According to the police statement, the police pushed back the miscreants and took back possession of the police station.
"Police did not plan or conduct any operation against the mosque or madrassah. The action, if any, was in self-defence and to protect public property," read the statement.
Awan, confirming the same, said that any action taken was in self-defence and to rescue the police officers taken hostage.
She said that in clashes this week between protesters and police, six police personnel were martyred, while more than 700 were injured.
Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, in a statement late Sunday evening, said that law and order across the province was intact.
"Police, Rangers and other law enforcement agencies are performing their duties admirably," he said.
"Aside from one location in Lahore, the law and order situation in Punjab is satisfactory," the chief minister added.
The chief minister appealed to the general public to pay no heed to false information from unverified sources.
Commenting on Sunday's incident, Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said that while the government believes in holding a dialogue with different parties, it "will not be blackmailed" through violence.
"Police officials and Rangers personnel were abducted in Lahore, in response to which an operation had to be launched," he said, while reiterating that the government will not be blackmailed by banned organisations.
The minister added that, as much as other people, Prime Minister Imran Khan is also an ardent follower of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) — something which he has proved time and again by bringing up the topic of respecting the Prophet of Islam on different forums.
Last week, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan — which was declared a proscribed organisation on Thursday — called for protests and sit-ins across the country which took a violent turn after protesters started clashing with the police. As a result, at least 3 people — including two policemen — were killed. Meanwhile, hundreds of police personnel sustained injuries while trying to disperse the protesting crowd during the three-day protest.
According to the police, the protesters also vandalised public and private property while blocking roads which lead to massive traffic jams in different cities of Pakistan, some of which even lasted for more than five hours. Owing to the traffic jams, flights had to be delayed, while hospitals in Lahore faced a critical situation due to a shortage of oxygen cylinders.
According to a report released by the ministry of interior, 2,135 protesters were arrested from across the country for attacking the police and disturbing the law and order situation of the country.
Meanwhile, the government decided to ban TLP under the anti-terrorism law.
Speaking about the TLP's negotiations, Rasheed said the government wanted to table a resolution in the National Assembly and wanted to form a consensus on it but they (TLP) insisted on marching to the Faizabad Interchange.
"Our efforts to convince them failed. As far as the matter of Khatam-e-Nabwat is concerned, I am ready to give my life," declared the minister.
He said miscreants had snatched a rifle from a police officer and used it to fire at others in one of the protests.
The minister defended the government, saying it intended to honour the agreement made with the TLP earlier.
Regarding the FIRs filed against protesters, Rasheed said they were all filed in accordance with the law.
"I have never supported this party nor had ever met Khadim Hussain Rizvi (late TLP chief)," the minister said, adding the ban has been imposed due to TLP's "character" and not due to any political compulsion.