‘Mishandling’ of TLP rally riles Punjab

Oct 27, 2021

LAHORE: Inspector General of Police Rao Sardar Ali Khan has rebuked the Lahore police high command for “unprofessionally” handling the rally of the proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and sought a report from the capital city police officer (CCPO) to fix responsibility.

The IGP admonished the officers for their alleged failure in threat assessment, security plan and leadership crisis that helped the TLP leave Lahore, inviting wrath of the provincial authorities. He was of the view that the Lahore police had been taking lead on ‘police agencies’ in the country because of level of their training, standard of professionalism and in combating crime and law and order.

However, the police brought ‘embarrassment’ while exhibiting pathetic performance in dealing with the recent TLP rally, the IGP said.

Rao Sardar said this while addressing senior command of the Lahore police including Capital City Police Officer Ghulam Mahmood Dogar at his office here the other day. Lahore DIG Operations Sohail Chaudhry, SSP Ismael Kharrak and the divisional SPs were present.

There are disturbing reports that from Monday night to Tuesday evening nearly 4,000 more charged workers of the proscribed TLP from all over the province reached Sadhoki near Gujranwala and joined the main rally. The number of participants in the TLP sit-in crossed the figure of 10,000 and they stretched to around five kilometres on GT Road.

The Punjab police department also tightened security. They provided an additional force of 839 personnel to Lahore police to tackle the evolving law and order situation, 1,000 officials to Gujranwala police to help fight the TLP and 3,290 to Islamabad police.

The IG Punjab also shortlisted from the available slot six ‘fighter police officers’ and put them at the disposal of the Rawalpindi police. According to a notification, the officers dispatched were Toba Tek Singh DPO Mujeebur Rehman Bagvi, Mianwali DPO Mustansar Feroze, Khushab DPO Mohammad Naveed, assistant inspector general (complaints) Asad Sarfraz, Rawat PC Battalion SP Dr Fahad, CTD Punjab SP Dr Rizwan, and Bahawalpur DPO Faisal Kamran.

An official said the IGP rebuked the police officers after he did not find satisfactory reply/response from the Lahore police high command for not containing the TLP procession in the city. He said Rao Sardar was shocked while speaking to the police officers that nearly half of the total 34,000 Lahore police force was deployed but it failed to stop 3,000-4,000 relatively unarmed TLP men in the city.

On the occasion, a police officer tried to clear his position saying the police force (anti-riot and other police units) was primarily responsible for leaving its positions in case of violence. The IGP found the response ‘ridiculous’ and asked him to explain who was ‘commanding’ the force at that time.

Declaring it a command failure, Rao Sardar directed the police officer not to put all blame on the subordinate and admonished him. He said the rally had exposed several weaknesses of the Lahore police’s senior authorities to command a well-resourced largest police force of the province.

He warned that he would not spare anyone responsible for a lack of professionalism and asked the Lahore CCPO to submit him a report while defining role of each individual (senior police officer) to take action.

Later, the CCPO also called a meeting of divisional SPs and other senior police officers where he showed his utter displeasure over the performance. The official said Mr Dogar compared the officers on duty with rankers. The CCPO said that in the past some ranker officers earned fame in effective policing and crime fighting.