Pakistani police on Sunday arrested over 300 activists of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party in Punjab province for creating unrest. The TLP is a recently-formed political party of the Barelvi sect.
Skirmishes erupted between the activists and police since Saturday. Over a dozen TLP activists and five policemen were injured during the clashes as protesters pelted stones at police who fired teargas. The activists were protesting against federal and provincial law ministers Zahid Hamid and Rana Sanaullah for their alleged “soft corner” towards the minority Ahmadi community. They demanded the ministers’ resignation. The Ahmadis are among Pakistan’s most persecuted minorities.
TLP activists also blocked the main road connecting Rawalpindi with Islamabad for the last few days. The PML-N government however refrained from using force to disperse them from there. In other cities like Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Sahiwal and Bahawalpur, the police launched a crackdown on their sit-ins and arrested protesters for blocking roads.
“We have arrested more than 300 TLP workers from different cities of Punjab for creating law and order situation in the province,” Punjab Police spokesman Niyab Haider said. He said the activists have been booked for blocking roads, damaging public property and injuring policemen during protests, adding that TLP workers will not be allowed to create unrest in the province in the name of religion.