LAHORE: The Lahore Police deployed more than 1000 cops to avoid any untoward incident during the arrival of Sunni Ittehad’s Council’s (SIC) procession in Lahore on Sunday. SIC took out a procession against terrorism, sacrilege of mausoleums and price hike.“Police will give a grand reception to the participants of Sunni Ittehad Council’s rally,” said Superintendent Police Dr Shahzad Asif. He said the police adopted all ‘humanly possible’ security measures for the participants’ security and all arrangements had been completed. Responding to a query, he denied any SIC worker’s arrest. However, late on Saturday night, Lower Mall Police arrested an SIC leader, Sahibzada Mukhtar Rizvi, from Hisbul Khanaf Maddrassa, and dozens of workers from Shahdara and other areas of Lahore. According to police sources the arrested were released by the police after a ‘settlement’ between the Punjab government and SIC.
Police sources said that Punjab government had decided to give free way to participants of the rally and had directed Lahore Police to take extraordinary measures for the rally, after which Lahore Police deputed more than 1000 cops at and around Data Darbar and on the rally’s route. They said that police also deployed Anti Riot Force to avoid any trouble between police and the activists.Lahore Police also directed traffic police to enforce diversion on all roads connecting Data Darbar, after which the police blocked all such roads to avoid any terrorist activity. Police sources said that traffic police has also been directed ensure traffic diversion on all roads connecting the rally’s route.Long march compounds traffic problems: The roads adjoining Data Darbar faced intense pressure from traffic pressure due to the Sunni Ittehad Council’s planned Long March on Sunday.Data Darbar road was cordoned off because of security measures since afternoon on Sunday. The long march’s route was scheduled from the Ravi Road to the Data Darbar road, and the traffic entering the city faced a number of security hurdles. The roads adjoining to Data Darbar including Jillani Road, Ravi Road, Sheesh Mahal Road and Circular Road faced massive blockades.
Commuters going to weddings and other places criticized the Long March organizers and the Punjab Government. Naeem Ahmad, who was coming from Gujranwala to attend the wedding of his close relative said “It took me more than four hours to reach the destination because of the security measures” A trader said that his equipment was supposed to come on Sunday night but the Long March has hampered his delivery.He said that the government should provide alternate routes.Those affiliated with the Sunni Ittehad Council said that the Long March was for a broader purpose and minute hurdles for one day is not a big deal. They said that there were no such business activities on Sunday. They further said that there were thousands of people who have come from far flung areas for this Long March and our public should be ready to give these small sacrifices.People said the connection between walled city and the main city remained at halt for several hours and there were very few alternate routes available.Muhammad Amir who normally visits his relatives to the walled city on Sundays said “We always tend to hamper public in different ways, traffic blockage due to peak hours and blasts etc are understandable, but these politicians should become mature now and must stop playing Long March Long March – Pakistantoday