Karachi ( REPORTBEAT ):Traders across the country have decided to keep markets shut after the former chairman of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman, late on Sunday called for a nationwide strike after police action in Lahore against workers of the now proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbail Pakistan.
He also asked political parties to support his call.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and JI Chief Sirajul Haq later backed the call and asked their supporters to conduct a peaceful protest.
Supporting the call for a shutter down strike, All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran demanded that the government immediately remove Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid. They also asked the government to ask the French envoy to leave the country.
Addressing a press conference, Mufti Muneeb asked the government to lift the ban on TLP and release all its workers. “There will deadlock in talks if the government does not agree to these terms,” he said.
He further asked the government to soften their stance in order to reach a solution. CNG and petrol pumps are also to remain closed.
Workers of outlawed TLP on Sunday stormed a police station near the party’s headquarters in Lahore and abducted half a dozen policemen including a deputy superintendent of police (DSP).
“Today in the early morning, miscreants attacked Nawankot Police Station where Rangers and police officers were trapped inside the police station and [the] DSP Nawankot [Mohammad Umer Farooq was] kidnapped and taken [to] the [TLP] markaz,” said a brief statement issued by the provincial police.
The police later launched an operation at the TLP headquarters to rescue the abducted officials.
According to the TLP, a heavy contingent of police assisted by the Pakistan Rangers “attacked” their markaz and its adjacent mosque and used heavy tear-gas shelling, while baton-charging their activists.
The TLP also accused the police of resorting to live firing and use of chemical infected water to disperse the activists.
The police, however, faced stiff resistance from party workers who managed to repel the law enforcers while injuring at least 20 of them.