New Delhi: Violent protest has hit Pakistan now, and worse, the menace has hit on the capital's doorsteps, Islamabad. Much to the embarrassment of a regime in Pakistan that rejoices troubles in India and has constantly been instigating problems in western neighbour Afghanistan, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan supporters on Wednesday (October 27) celebrated 'capturing a police vehicle' during their protest march towards Islamabad.
At least four policemen died, and over 250 were injured as 'thousands of workers' of the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) clashed with law-enforcement personnel near Sadhoke in Punjab's Gujranwala district.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said that the four police personnel died because of firing by TLP workers, adding that 253 others had been in the violence.
Earlier, a police spokesperson confirmed the death of one policeman, identified as Kasur ASI M. Akbar. Pak Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told a press conference that three policemen died and at least 70 police personnel had been injured. Of them, eight were in critical condition.
Over 30 policemen injured in the clashes were taken to the Muridke Tehsil Headquarters Hospital, while 35 injured personnel were shifted to another Sheikhupura District Headquarters Hospital.
A Reuters report claimed, quoting a police spokesperson, that the TLP activists allegedly used SMG, AK 47 and pistols to target police officials. Karachi police also used tear gas shelling to foil an attempted sit-in by TLP workers in the old city area.
During the day, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that TLP could not challenge the 'writ' of the state and be treated as a "militant" group and not a religious party.
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan would mean – "I am present Pakistan" movement'. It is a 'far-right' Islamic extremist political party in Pakistan founded by Khadim Hussain Rizvi in August 2015.
The Tehreek-e-Labbaik is known for its protests in opposition to any change to Pakistan's blasphemy law. It has been demanding Sharia as the fundamental Islamic law.
Though it emerged as the fifth largest party in the 2018 Pakistani general election, it had won no seat in National Assembly and Punjab Assembly. However, it has been successful in winning three seats in the Sindh Assembly.
Punjab IG Rao Sardar Ali Khan said the group had indulged in violence in the past as well. He mentioned the group's sit-in at Faizabad in 2017. He said that previously at least 700 officials were injured, and three lost their lives. "Are police officers and law enforcers not lovers of the Holy Prophet?" the IG asked.