LAHORE - Police threw a massive security blanket across the metropolis Monday night as people thronged key roads to celebrate Independence Day.

At least 10,000 police are deployed across the provincial capital where more than 900 ceremonies will take place. Police squads on cars and motorcycles will remain on patrol on all the major roads till late Tuesday.

Lahore DIG (Operations) Shahzad Akbar said the police official warned that they would take strict action against the eve teasers.   “Police are ordered to observe zero-tolerance policy against one-wheeling, aerial firing, eve-teasing, and fireworks,” DIG Akbar said. “Special police squads are deployed (on city roads) for Monday and Tuesday nights to counter one-wheelers. The Dolphin Squads and Police Response Units will ensure non-stop patrolling on the major roads”

A display of fireworks was held at Jillani Park at 12am. The day will dawn with a 21-gun salute, to be followed by laying wreaths by CM Hasan Askari at the mausoleum of Allama Muhammad Iqbal and flag-hoisting at Hazuri Bagh.

The Punjab Council of Arts is organising a cultural parade at Jinnah Garden from 4pm to 6pm. Sikhs, Hindus and other minorities will join such a ceremony at ETPB office. Government and non-government organisations especially educational institutes organised special functions to mark the I-Day. Political parties will celebrate the day at their party offices.

Before midnight, hundreds of youngsters riding on motorcycle appeared on major city roads including The Mall, Jail Road, Canal Road, and Main Boulevard Gulberg. Many families riding on cars also came out to celebrate freedom. The youngsters were waving flags on specially-decorated vehicles.

On the other hand, heavy gunfire and fireworks erupted in several parts of city as people defied the ban

 Hundreds of wardens were also deployed on all the major roads and crossings to ensure smooth flow of vehicular traffic.

 Also, Additional Chief Secretary Nasim Nawaz said that all the relevant departments were functioning with complete coordination for ensuring participation of general public in Independence Day celebrations in a secure and peaceful atmosphere.

He was chairing a meeting to review security arrangements. The meeting was attended by Lahore Commissioner Dr Mujtaba Pracha, LDA Director General Amna Imran Khan, Deputy Commissioner Anwarul Haque, DIG Shahzad Akbar and other officers concerned.  He termed the report about lack of coordination among law enforcement agencies ‘baseless’.

Flag hoisting

All the officials of the Civil Secretariat have been directed to attend the central flag-hoisting ceremony at the provincial government headquarters. Punjab Chief Secretary Akbar Durani will be the chief guest.

Special sitting

The Pakistan Movement Workers Trust will organise a special sitting at the trust building.  NPT Chairman Rafique Tarrar will preside over while Pakistan Movement Workers Trust gold medalists will be the chief guests.

Exhibition

Chief Secretary Akbar Durani inaugurated an exhibition of rare documents and photos at Civil Secretariat. Four-day exhibition will continue from August 13 to 16.