Canada-based Pakistani cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who has vowed to lead a “revolution” against the Nawaz Sharif government, was on Thursday virtually placed under house arrest by Lahore police to stop him from leading any anti-government protest.
Police have blocked all roads leading to his Model Town residence with containers and are not even allowing opposition leaders’ vehicles near his house.
“We cannot allow any vehicle of opposition leaders as they may take Qadri along with them on return. Practically speaking Qadri is under house arrest,” a Lahore police official, who requested anonymity, told PTI.
He said, “We have strict orders to stop Qadri from leaving his residence and his supporters to converge at his place.”
After heavy deployment of police force, Lahore’s Model Town has become a “no go area”. The local residents are facing immense problem because of the police blockade as they are not allowed to take their vehicles in the area.
Police in Punjab province have also arrested over 200 supporters of Qadri, chief of Pakistan Awami Tehrik, ahead ofhis party’s August 10 gathering here to pay homage to his 14 activists, who were killed in a police attack at the party headquarters in Model Town on June 17.
Qadri had said that he will announce the date for his ‘Inqlabi March’ on August 10.
Lahore police have also hired about 400 containers from different companies to block entry-exit points and some inside places of the city.
Lahore Police yesterday registered a case under Anti-terrorism Act against Qadri for allegedly inciting people to revolt against the government, provoking his followers to resort to violence, challenging state and inciting them to confront police through his fiery speeches.
Later, Qadri told reporters that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has “shown his nervousness” by deploying police at his residence and arresting his supporters.
He claimed the Sharif family would flee the country for the US this month as nobody could stop his revolution.
“This time the Sharif family will not find place in Saudi Arabia and the UK after the Nawaz government is sent packing in the wake of peoples’ revolution. The Sharifs have finalised a plan to flee the country for the US,” he claimed.
Qadri gave a call to the people and his supporters to come out of their houses and reach Model Town.