Monday Apr 19, 2021
ISLAMABAD: PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday regretted the loss of lives in the recent clashes that took place in various cities across the country.
Pakistan has been rocked by violent protests over the past couple of days as supporters of a proscribed organisation have held protests across the country, leading to clashes with police officers.
The clashes have left four police officers martyred and over 600 injured.
Offering his condolences over the martyrdom of law enforcement personnel in the recent clashes and the deaths of citizens, the PPP chairperson said these clashes reflected the government's failure to resolve tensions peacefully.
"Calling for blood and violence can never improve a situation," said Bilawal, adding that if history has taught man something, it is that violence begets violence.
Bilawal said the real war should be fought against the reasons which cause the law and order situation of a country to plummet.
The PPP leader turned his guns towards the government, wondering why it did not take other stakeholders on board in resolving a crisis of this nature.
"Why did this selected government not implement the National Action Plan? Why does this selected government not present the challenges facing the country to the Parliament [for debate]?" he wondered.
Twelve policemen were taken hostage on Sunday when armed men attacked a police station in Lahore, resulting in a counter-operation by the police.
The police officers were, however, released the following day after the first round of negotiations between the government and the protesters were held successfully, said Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed in a video message.
A senior police officer told Geo.tv on the condition of anonymity that around 500 rioters had attacked the police station at 8am. “As more police arrived, the number of rioters also swelled to nearly 2,000 men,” he said.
“They have a lot of local support in this one area.”
When the police officers trapped inside the police station came out during the operation, the rioters kidnapped them and took them to their madrassa.
“They were armed with petrol bombs,” the police official added.
He further said that the Punjab government had told police officials to disengage with the mob so it can negotiate, “but we told them that our pre-condition was that our men, the 16 taken hostage, be released first.”
After the recent spate of violence and clashes, the Punjab government on Saturday placed Saad Rizvi, the chief of the banned party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), on the fourth schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
In a notification, Punjab's home department had said his assets have been frozen, and his national identity card has been blocked — which means he cannot conduct transactions via banks, nor can he sell or purchase any property.
Similarly, the National Counter-Terrorism Authority, on Friday, also placed TLP on the proscribed organisations' list.
Rizvi has to submit his original passport to the in-charge of the concerned police station.
After he submits his passport, he will have to obtain permission from the police station when he wishes to leave his residence — and provide details of any meetings he wishes to hold anywhere.