rawalpindi - A large numbers of small shopkeepers, traders and landlords protested against police for lodging ‘baseless’ cases against them under the Punjab Security of Vulnerable Establishments and Temporary Residence Acts 2015. They said that police are showing performance only on papers by arresting and lodging cases against them aimed at hiding their weaknesses to implement the National Action Plan (NAP).

They demanded Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shehbaz Sharif and Inspector General of Police Punjab Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera to stop police from victimising them or else they would launch a protest movement against the injustice.

Talking to The Nation yesterday, a merchant Sartaj, who runs a small grocery store in Police Chowky Hameedian limits, said that police booked him under the Punjab Security of Vulnerable Establishments 2015 and locked him up. He said that he was a poor man and could not afford a security guard. “I earn hardly Rs10,000 in a month then how can I hire a guard against Rs18,000,” he said.

He said that there were many other big shopping malls sans guards in the area but police were not taking action against them.

Zait Ullah, another victim shopkeeper, said that he was also arrested by police under same charges. He said that police were not arresting powerful and mighty rather teasing the poor people.

Meanwhile, dozens of residents of Madina Town postponed their protest against police action against five landlords. According to details, Saddar Bairooni conducted search operation in Madina Town on Adiala Road and held five landlords and lodged cases against them under the Punjab Temporary Residence Act 2015.

However, later it was proved during the investigation that the detainees were house owners not the tenants. This sparked unrest in the area and residents took to roads against police injustice. Later, the protestors dispersed peacefully after DSP Salim Khatak and SHO Malik Yaar Muhammad apologized to the residents.

  On the other hand, district authorities assured traders that fresh FIRs against traders under the Punjab Security of Vulnerable Establishments Ordinance 2015 would be registered after due consultation with traders’ union representatives.

District Coordination Officer Talat Mahmood Gondal and City Police Officer Israr Ahmed Abbasi had held a meeting with the traders’ representatives and assured that the FIRs would be registered after consultation with the unions.