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Punjab Govt ready for PTI protest

14 December, 2014

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LAHORE - Police contingents would be deployed around shopping malls, business centers, and leading bazaars and markets across the Punjab capital to ensure businesses as usual. The Punjab government, in principle, has decided that there would be no compromise on the law and order situation.

Lahore police are reportedly planning arrests of leaders and activists of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on a massive scale on Monday to upset their protest call for shutting down the provincial metropolis on December 15.

"The police are directed to ensure immediate arrests of the PTI workers in case they attempt to force the traders to close down their businesses," an official in the provincial hierarchy told this reporter on the condition of anonymity.

When asked whether the police would also arrest the protesters if they tried to block roads for general traffic, he replied that the concerned authorities would decide that on the spot, keeping in view the situation.

Police sources further said that the senior cops held several meetings with the traders during the last couple of days assuring them of proper security to their businesses. It was also learnt that PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz has been given the task to foil the PTI's call for shutter down and wheel jam strike in
Lahore. Hamza Shahbaz has also chaired a couple of meetings in this regard. Many traders, top police officers and officials of the district administration also participated in these meetings and presented their suggestions to help the authorities maintain peace and law and order in Lahore.

Meanwhile, Lahore CCPO Muhammad Amin Wains has said that no group, organisation or party will be allowed to create law and order situation in the provincial metropolis. "The police will provide protection to the lives and properties of the citizens and traders and those elements found involved in troublemaking would be dealt with iron hands," he stated while presiding over a meeting to finalise security plan for December 15. A police spokesperson said that the meeting was scheduled to take into confidence the traders, transporters, and businessmen regarding the security strategy. Lahore District Coordination Officer (DCO) Muhammad Usman was also present on this occasion besides other officers.

Amin Wains told the meeting that a comprehensive security plan had been finalised to maintain law and order situation in Lahore. He further said that police would patrol around all the markets, shopping malls, and business centers to keep the things under control. Similarly, one police mobile van and police patrolling squads on motorbikes would also remain on duty in front of the markets and shopping centers to keep a vigilant eye on the activities of the miscreants, he added.

On this occasion, Lahore DCO Muhammad Usman said that peaceful protest was the right of each group, party or organisation. However, he warned that no group or party would be allowed to resort to violence in the name of protests.

According to officials, the traffic police have also finalised a separate traffic management plan to ensure smooth flow of traffic in Lahore on Monday. The police are holding special meetings with the transporters so that public transport vehicles would be available on the roads as usual on December 15.
A day earlier, Lahore High Court (LHC) directed the CCPO to chalk out a security plan in view of the PTI's call for shutting down Lahore. A full bench, headed by Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan, heard a petition filed by a traders' leader requesting the court to ensure security for citizens on December 15.

The court regretted that the government had failed to establish its writ and ordered the police to maintain law and order in the city.

CCPO Wains had told the court that the police were developing a security plan in consultation with all representatives of traders. The court also directed the officer to take input from traders, political workers, and citizens before finalizing the security plan.

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