After failing to confine the participants of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) movement in Lahore, Punjab Police planned a massive crackdown against TLP activists marching towards Islamabad.
The provincial police chief, after dressing down the senior-most officers of the Lahore police for their failure to stop the TLP in the city, has presented a two-thronged security plan to execute a crackdown plan if the negotiations failed.
A heavy contingent from Lahore police of around 10,000-15,000 has already been dispatched to assist Gujranwala division police to disperse protesters at Muridke.
To deal with the culmination point, the services of at least four district police officers (DPOs) and six senior police officers have been handed over to RPO Rawalpindi.
Chief Minister Secretariat reportedly had expressed severe annoyance over failure to halt TLP march movement out of the provincial capital. The same reservations and explanations were forwarded to the concerned senior-most officers by IG Punjab on Tuesday at his office.
Read Three cops martyred as TLP men run riot in Lahore
The contingent turn by turn went through a marathon series of briefings at police lines. Reportedly, around a dozen SPs, all the DSPs and SHOs of Lahore police will be responding at the flashpoint at Muridke.
The officials have been directed not to carry firearms with them. They have been instructed to use and carry only pepper guns, paintball guns, tear gas shells and clubs.
Reportedly, every official and officer that had gone through training of ARF whether in the squad or transferred to some other wing, range, or office has also been asked to report to join the Lahore police’s operation in Muridke.
To transport such a heavy number of officials, Lahore Police started ‘engaging’ private vehicles. Few officers of Lahore police approached transporters; however, they refused, citing fear of damage to their vehicle.
The police personnel will coordinate with the Gujranwala division in dealing with any ensuing law and order situation at Muridke.
The officers that had been ordered to report to RPO Rawalpindi included four DPOs – DPO Khushab Muhammad Naveed, DPO Mianwali Mustansir Feroz, DPO TT Singh Mujeeb ul Rehman Bhagvi, DPO Bahawalpur Faisal Kamran.
DPO Bahawalpur will take care of the security of Liaqat Bagh. Commandant constabulary-II will be escorted with the officials and two SPs.
Caught between the devil and the deep sea: A few reports have suggested that the police officers are feeling betrayed by the government for holding dialogues with the banned outfit and neglecting a large number of loss of lives by policemen and injuries incurred to the force while dealing with TLP agitation back in April this year.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2021.