LAHORE/GUJRANWALA/MULTAN/JHELUM- Pitched battles took place between PAT workers and Police in different cities of Punjab as the former tried to move to Lahore for the Martyrs Day on Sunday. There are reports of two PAT workers deaths, serious injuries to policemen as well as making of hostage of several policemen including senior officers.
One worker of the Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) died in Multan Nishtar Hospital after succumbing to his injuries sustained during a clash in Bhakkar with members of law enforcement agencies. The PAT worker was injured in Bhakkar and was shifted to Multan's Nishtar Hospital where he died. At least 55 policemen were injured in clashes with PAT workers in Gujranwala and were being provided medical treatment in the district headquarters hospital. Eight out of the 55 injured were in a critical condition.
The injured policemen include high-ranking police officials. After the clash, the Awami Tehrik workers set off for Lahore for the August 10 Youm-i-Shuhada. The workers also left a trail of vehicles set ablaze. A PAT official also claimed that at least one female worker died and 16 other party members were injured due to firing. The clashes started when workers faced obstacles on their way on Qila Chand Bypass, Toll plaza, Aimenabad turn and Sadhuki where police personnel had placed containers to block the way. During the movement, a clash erupted between policemen and PAT workers with policemen firing tear gas shells and baton-charging Qadri’s supporters.
Protestors broke windows and damaged vehicles of police and set motorcycles on fire. Three policemen were taken hostage by PAT workers in Lahore today. The Awami Tehrik workers said they will take more policemen hostage if “provoked” and demanded the release of their arrested colleagues in exchange for the policemen.
Police personnel in custody of PAT members said they were going to their duty points when Awami Tehrik workers ambushed them, snatching away their arms as well as other possessions. Moreover, in Jhelum's Pind Dadan Khan town, PAT workers were holding 15 police personnel hostage following a clash. The policemen were taken hostage after the workers thwarted the barriers fixed to restrict their movement in the area.
Police had also fired tear gas shells on protesters due to which several demonstrators became unconscious.