LAHORE: As the enraged workers of the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) are anxiously waiting for the government's response to strike a deal for ending their sit-in at Muridke, the Lahore police while taking advantage of the delay have finalized its arrangements for sending an additional force to the district in case the negotiations fail and the group opts for clashes.
The TLP Shura members had given time to the government till today for addressing their concerns including release of all those arrested, including party Chief Saad Hussain Rizvi and other Shura members, besides reviewing the Fourth Schedule and acting on the agreement signed with the group in November 2020.
The TLP had said that after their release from jails, the incarcerated workers and leaders would join the sit-in at Muridke and announce their next plan, possibly the termination of the long march to the federal capital.
According to an official source, the high-command of the Lahore police have finalized all the necessary arrangements for sending additional force to Gujranwala from where they will assist the local police and other law enforcers in tackling the law and order situation in case the negotiation with the proscribed outfit fail.
As per the decision, the source said, the Lahore police are expected to send a fleet of over 15,000 cops to Muridke. Private transporters have also been engaged in this regard, he said, adding that the force will only be provided anti-riot gear instead of lethal weapons to avoid any loss of human life.
"Pepper spray, teargas, rifles that fire rubber bullets, stun grenades, water cannons, clubs and long range acoustic devices are commonly used in anti-riot gear," the official explained and added that the personnel will be picked from operation, investigation, security, anti-riot force and Dolphin Force. "SHOs, DSPs and SPs rank officers will also be sent for aid."
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed after holding different round of talks with the proscribed outfit, including detained Saad Rizvi, on Monday twitted: "We have released 350 TLP workers and we are still waiting to open both sides of road of Muridke as per the decision with the TLP." He had also announced at a presser that the cases against others will be withdrawn by Wednesday (today). However, the TLP had threatened that if their concerns were not addressed by Wednesday, they will march towards the federal capital with 'power more than before'.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021