Authorities resort to trench digging to counter TLP protestors near Chenab

Citizens disgruntled as TLP protests cause shutdown of transport services

Law enforcement agencies dug trenches to stop Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) protestors from marching towards Chenab while thousands of commuters faced another day of hardship on Thursday due to suspended transportation services.

Following the developing law and order situation caused by the proscribed TLP’s protest, Pakistan Railways announced the suspension of various trains along the Lahore-Rawalpindi corridor, while many transporters stopped their vehicles, further inconveniencing the people. Due to closure of many bus services, commuters and passengers were forced to use taxis and rikshaws after paying huge amounts.

A copious number of routine travelers commuting both ways between Gujranwala and Lahore were upset at Lahore Railway Station. Many of them had come to Lahore through buses but due to closure of GT Road at Kamoke, they reached the station in hopes to board trains but returned disappointed as all trains on the tracks were suspended.

“A day before yesterday, I came to Lahore through GT Road but had no idea that it will become hard to go back,” said a resident of Gujranwala, Umar Ashraf, while standing at the Lahore Railway Station’s booking center. He said that on Tuesday, a large number of protestors were present at Kamoke but roads were open for commuters. He added, “Taking the opportunity of the situation many car drivers are providing service, but they are charging a large amount.”

Similar situation was being faced by other travelers on GT Road from Gujranwala toward northern cities like Wazirabad, Gujrat, Lala Musa, Jhelum, and Gujjar Khan due to blockage of roads.

Gujrat district administration was all set not to let the protestors leave the district. Gujrat Additional Deputy Commissioner Amir Shahzad Kang told Minute Mirror that district administration had taken all measures to detract protestors away from Chenab. For this purpose, he said law enforcers had dug trenches on several spots at roads, while security was on high alert at Chenab River Bridge.

Moreover, to restrict the protestors from entering different cities located along GT road, authorities blocked roads by placing containers and barricades. Authorities also suspended internet services in many areas situated along the highway, which added to the suffering of residents.

Meanwhile, massive traffic jams occurred on all small and big roads adjacent to the GT Road, spoiling the day for commuters.

Moreover, City Traffic Police (CTO) Rawalpindi spokesman told media that traffic police closed Murree Road for all kinds of vehicles and advised the public to use alternative routes to reach their destinations.

“Security has been tightened in Rawalpindi while Murree Road is completely closed for any kind of traffic,” he added.

Samiullah Randhawa is a correspondent covering environment, climate change, food, water and ecology. He is an International Center For Journalists alumnus and a fellow at Kettering Foundation Ohio, USA. He has won two Agahi Awards for reporting on climate change and water crisis. He tweets @sami_randhawa and can be reached at