Violent clashes between supporters of the ruling PML-N and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Monday left a PTI worker dead. At least 12 activists and five policemen were injured. PTI Chairman Imran Khan called for a countrywide day of mourning on Tuesday.
While workers of the two parties were clashing with each other on the Novelty Bridge, four gun-toting men resorted to firing, allegedly killing 22-year-old Haq Nawaz. The PTI activists claimed that he had been killed in shooting by a guard of the son-in-law of Punjab’s former law minister Rana Sanaullah. But Sanaullah denied it and said the man, who was shown by TV channels shooting in a particular direction, had been identified. His identity would be made public on Tuesday, he added. The former minister claimed that life in the city was normal till 10.30am, but the violence erupted after PTI workers tried to forcibly shut down markets. The activists of rival parties beat each other up with wooden and iron clubs and threw stones amid slogans against each other’s leaderships.
Enraged PTI workers occupied Samundri Road, which leads to the outhouse of Rana Sanaullah near Novelty Bridge, and pelted the building with stones. They also removed barbed wires erected by police. Police baton-charged the PTI workers and pushed them back. Five policemen were injured by stones thrown by the PTI supporters who chanted slogans against PML-N leaders and sought action against the people responsible for the killing. Two PTI women activists were manhandled by some people at the Clock Tower intersection, forcing them to flee. Police used water cannons to disperse the activists of both parties. Faisalabad district remained in the grip of tension the whole day, keeping people indoors as Imran Khan had given a call for shutter-down and wheel jam strike. The PTI workers blocked traffic at nine different points by putting tyres on fire. Most vehicles stayed off roads and attendance in educational institutions was thin.
Eight bazaars of Clock Tower — Kutchery, Rail, Kharkhana, Montgomery, Jhang, Bhawana, Aminpur and Chiniot — remained closed where club-wielding activists of both parties kept taking rounds. Traders remained outside their shops to protect them. City police chief Sohail Habib Tajik said that a team, headed by the Iqbal Town SP, had been formed to arrest within 48 hours the people involved in the firing. Samanabad police registered a case under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act against more than 300 people, including Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, Rana Sanaullah, his son-in-law Ahmed Shehryar, MPA Tahir Jameel and DCO Noorul Ameen Mengal, on charges of killing the PTI worker. The case was registered on the complaint of Atta Mohammad, a brother of deceased Haq Nawaz. Ten people have been named while 300 are unidentified. No arrest was made till late in the night.
The applicant alleged that on Sunday night Abid Sher Ali, Tahir Jameel, the DCO and some others had gathered at the residence of Rana Sanaullah. A plan was thrashed out asking PML-N workers to attack the protesting PTI activists with pistols and clubs. They assured the workers that the administration would not take any action against them, Atta Mohammad, the complainant, said. He said Rana Sanaullah was a habitual criminal and also named in the Model Town incident. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif constituted a three-member committee to investigate the Faisalabad incident. The provincial environment secretary will head the committee, which comprises Faisalabad’s additional commissioner and the Toba Tek Singh DPO. The chief minister ordered that the people involved in the firing be immediately arrested and action taken under the law. He alleged that the situation was a result of provocative statements and appeals of ransacking by some political leaders. He asked PML-N workers to remain peaceful. -dawn