LAHORE: The protests by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) workers against the acquittal of Christian blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi on Wednesday paralysed daily life in various cities of the country and has led to massive traffic jams.
The TLP workers led by their chief Allama Khadim Rizvi — who on Oct 13 had threatened to “paralyse the country within hours if the Supreme Court sets Aasia Bibi free”, are holding a sit-in at Charing Cross in Lahore, causing the traffic to halt.
The workers of the far-right party have also been holding a sit-in at Data Darbar since Tuesday night. The Lahore-Islamabad Motorway was blocked at Sheikhupura. The GT Road has also been blocked.
Moreover, Islamabad Police on their Twitter account also shared details of the traffic jams in Faizabad, Aabpara and Kashmir Highway and suggested that the commuters use an alternative route.
The Islamabad Police tweeted, “Faizabad, Aabpara and Kashmir Highway adjacent to Aabpara is blocked by protesters. Road users are requested to avoid these places.”
Protesters in Sargodha forced people to close shops and businesses before holding a protest sit-in at 12 Block Chowk. Sheikhupura, Kamonki, Kasur and other districts have been shut down completely.
It has further been reported that the protesters have staged sit-ins at Hub River Road that links Sindh to Balochistan, Sohrab Goth — linking Karachi to Hyderabad, Tower area, Main MA Jinnah Road near Numaish Chowrangi, Orangi Town, Star Gate and other areas of Karachi. The security has been beefed up in minorities’ religious areas as well.
Both sides of the road on Lyari Expressway from Karachi to Hyderabad were closed for traffic. Traffic was being diverted to Al-Asif Square towards Abul-Hassan Asfahani road. Both sides of the road on Numaish Chowk were also closed for traffic as well as traffic was halted at Star Gate.
Moreover, the Sindh government has issued a high-security alert notification directing the security troops to protect areas that are under threat and “to avoid any untoward incident or law order situation in all districts of Sindh”.
In Peshawar, protesters have blocked the Ring Road, Jamil Chowk and have gathered outside the Peshawar Press Club.
Protests were also being staged in Gujranwala, Layyah, Chishtian, Mansehra, Mirpur in Azad Kashmir, and other cities across the country.